Clinical Manifestations and Outcome of Syphilitic Uveitis

Jan G Bollemeijer, Wietse G Wieringa, Tom O A R Missotten, Ina Meenken, Ninette H ten Dam-van Loon, Aniki Rothova, Leonoor I Los

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: To analyze visual outcome, effectiveness of various modes of antibiotic treatment, and prognostic factors in patients with serologically proven syphilitic uveitis.

METHODS: The clinical records of 85 patients (139 eyes) diagnosed with syphilitic uveitis between 1984 and 2013 at tertiary centers in The Netherlands were retrospectively analyzed.

RESULTS: Mean age was 47 years (range, 27-73 years), 82.4% were male. HIV positivity was found in 28 (35.9%) patients; 13 were newly diagnosed. Most patients had pan (45.9%) or posterior (31.8%) uveitis. On average, logMAR visual acuity (VA) improved significantly from 0.55 at the start of syphilis treatment to 0.34 at 1 month and to 0.27 at 6 months follow-up. Most patients (86.7%) reached disease remission. No differences in efficacy between the various treatment regimens were found. A high logMAR VA at the start of syphilis treatment and a treatment delay of more than 12 weeks were prognostic for a high logMAR VA at 6 months follow-up. Chronicity was not related to any form of treatment, HIV status, or Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: In this large cohort of 85 patients with syphilitic uveitis, visual outcomes were favorable in the majority of cases. Visual outcome was dependent on VA at the start of syphilis treatment and treatment delay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-11
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Ceftriaxone/therapeutic use
  • Doxycycline/therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial/diagnosis
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillin G/therapeutic use
  • Penicillin G Procaine/therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syphilis/diagnosis
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uveitis/diagnosis
  • Visual Acuity


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