sympathetic ophthalmia

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This is an autoimmune disease in which a penetrating injury to one eye produces inflammation in the fellow, non-injured eye.

The uvea must be involved, particularly, the ciliary body. The release of uveal pigment into the bloodstream is thought to cause antibodies to be produced which initiate uveitis in the fellow eye. Early features are floating spots and weakness of accommodation. The retina is rarely affected but papilloedema and glaucoma may result.

Early administration of systemic steroids may be helpful. If the injured eye remains inflamed and there is little prospect of it recovering vision, it may be removed to help reduce the likelihood of sympathetic ophthalmia. Action is usually required within two weeks of injury.

Last reviewed 01/2018