Prospective surveillance of sympathetic ophthalmia in the UK and Republic of Ireland

D J Kilmartin, A D Dick, J V Forrester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Citations (Scopus)


Aims-To establish current epidemiological data, risks, and interventional outcomes of newly diagnosed sympathetic ophthalmia (SO).

Methods-Prospective surveillance took place of all permanently employed ophthalmologists in the UK and Republic of Ireland by a monthly reporting card through the British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit. Case ascertainment was made of newly diagnosed SO from July 1997 and questionnaire data were returned at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year after diagnosis.

Results-23 patients with newly diagnosed SO were recruited over 15 months, corresponding to a minimum estimated incidence of 0.03/100 000. Baseline data were available on 18 patients, in whom SO occurred after surgery in 11 patients, after retinal surgery alone in six patients, and after accidental trauma in seven patients. 12 of the 16 patients with 1 year follow up had a visual acuity of 6/12 or better. Good visual outcome was related to prompt and adequate systemic immunosuppressive therapy.

Conclusions-The incidence of sympathetic ophthalmia is very low The main current risk is surgery, particularly retinal surgery, but visual prognosis is good if early diagnosis is made and rapid, adequate immunotherapy is commenced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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