Ocular syphilis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Review current literature relevant to syphilitic uveitis utilizing Medline search and online governmental resources relevant to the diagnosis and management of syphilis presenting with ocular manifestations.

RECENT FINDINGS: There is a trend for increasing frequency of primary and secondary syphilis in developed countries, especially in young men. Ocular manifestations of syphilis are rare, occurring in less than one in 1 million persons in the United Kingdom. Distinctive patterns of syphilitic uveitis include white, focal preretinal opacities, and acute posterior placoid uveitis. Enhanced imaging can facilitate clinical diagnosis. Definitive diagnosis remains serologic. The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends reverse sequence testing with initial treponemal antibodies, followed by a quantitative nontreponemal test, which, if negative, triggers a confirmatory treponemal pallidum agglutination test. Persons testing positive for syphilis should also be tested for HIV. Recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control for treatment are unchanged: all ocular syphilis should be treated according to neurosyphilis regimens and should receive cerebrospinal fluid testing.

SUMMARY: Increased case numbers of syphilitic uveitis have stimulated interest in this old disease. This locally destructive ocular inflammation with the potential for severe systemic complications is curable with treatment and should have the highest priority for prompt recognition and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Epidemiology of ocular syphilis
  • Syphilis serology
  • Syphilitic uveitis
  • Treatment of ocular syphilis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ocular syphilis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this