Diagnostic dilemmas in retinitis and endophthalmitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Visual loss in infectious posterior uveitis or panuveitis can occur if proper therapy is delayed because of diagnostic uncertainty. Some disorders, such as acute retinal necrosis and bacterial endophthalmitis, can be rapidly progressive, and therefore require prompt and accurate diagnosis to guide initial therapy. Other more slowly evolving infections, such as toxoplasmic chorioretinitis or fungal endophthalmitis, can be worsened by empiric use of corticosteroids without specific antimicrobial coverage. Key ocular diagnostic features are helpful but highly variable with overlap with both non-infectious uveitis and neoplastic masquerades, even for key signs such as hypopyon. Close examination of the fundus with attention to color, location, size, border, and opacity of lesions and associated arteriolitis or frosted branch angiitis is helpful in the diagnosis of chorioretinitis. Ultrasonography is an important tool in the evaluation of eyes with suspected endophthalmitis, especially those with intracapsular infection or focal infected deposits. Testing of intraocular fluid can be extremely useful but suffers from inaccessibility, poor sensitivity, and test selections dependent on a presumptive diagnosis, which may be wrong. The dilemma for clinician is to make the correct diagnosis of a rare, blinding, variegated disease quickly enough to intercede with specific therapy or to apply empiric therapy in a sufficiently skilled manner to avert disaster and confirm the diagnosis by response to treatment. When non-infectious uveitis is in the differential, empiric corticosteroids must sometimes be used, at great risk, if clinical examination, ancillary testing, and any available intraocular diagnostic tests have failed to confirm a diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-201
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • acute retinal necrosis
  • chorioretinitis
  • cytomegalovirus retinitis
  • endophthalmitis
  • PCR
  • syphilis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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