Background: Acute, as opposed to chronic, anterior uveitis is rarely associated with macular or optic nerve edema. Nevertheless, mild changes may not be visible on examination.
Objectives: To implement non-invasive ocular coherence tomography (OCT) for obtaining quantitative and qualitative data in the assessment of changes in macular morphology and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layers in eyes with acute anterior uveitis.
Methods: This retrospective case-control study was conducted in patients with unilateral acute anterior uveitis lasting for up to one month. Patients with evidence of other ocular disease or who had undergone intraocular surgery were excluded. We reviewed the charts of 14 consecutive patients who were diagnosed with acute unilateral anterior uveitis between 2007 and 2008 at the Tel Aviv Medical Center. Data on demographic details, ophthalmic examination, macular thickness and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness (as demonstrated by OCT) were retrieved. Retinal and RNFL thickness was compared between the healthy fellow eye (control) and the uveitic eye in the central and four perifoveal quadrant regions, and RNFL thickness was compared in the mean and four quadrant values by Student’s t-test.
Results: We evaluated 28 eyes of 7 males and 7 females (mean age 37.7 years, range 20–65). The diagnoses were: idiopathic in five patients, ankylosing spondylitis in five, Crohn’s disease in one patient and reactive arthritis in one. Nine patients were HLA-B27 positive. The retina and the peripapillary NFL in each area were thicker in the uveitic eyes compared to the controls. The difference was statistically significant. There was no correlation between the differences in OCT values and patients’ demographic characteristics.
Conclusions: OCT demonstrated that eyes with acute anterior uveitis had thicker maculae and thicker peripapillary RNFL than controls. This finding suggests that even milder anterior uveitis may be associated with some degree of posterior segment manifestations.