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Taiwan J Ophthalmol. 2019 Dec 13;9(4):271-275. doi: 10.4103/tjo.tjo_63_19. eCollection 2019 Oct-Dec.

Ocular syphilis mimicking Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease.

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Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Education and Research, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


The study aimed to present a case of ocular syphilis mimicking Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease. This is an observational case report. A 59-year-old female with Sicca syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis presented to the ophthalmologic department with blurred vision of the right eye for 5 days accompanied by color sensation loss in both eyes. Bilateral disc hyperemia and serous retinal detachment at the posterior pole were noted in her both eyes by fundus examination. Fluorescein angiography revealed bilateral late dye leakage from the disc and posterior choroid. Optical coherence tomography showed bilateral subretinal fluid and choroidal thickening. The impression of her condition was VKH disease initially. However, she was later diagnosed with bilateral ocular syphilis with optic neuritis which was proved by laboratory data. After appropriate antimicrobial agent treatment, her best-corrected visual acuity, serous retinal detachment, and disc hyperemia improved. There was no recurrent intraocular inflammation even without systemic steroid or immunosuppressive therapy control during the following 1 year. Ocular syphilis can mimic many other ocular inflammatory diseases including VKH disease. It is necessary to differentiate infectious causes from inflammatory origins due to the substantially different treatment and prognosis.


Masquerader; Ocular syphilis; Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada disease

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interests of this paper.

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