The association of systemic disorders with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada and sympathetic ophthalmia

Ali Al-Halafi, Hassan Al Dhibi, Issam H. Hamade, Charbel T. Bou Chacra, Khalid F. Tabbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The aim of this work is to determine the systemic diseases and malignancy associated with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease compared to sympathetic ophthalmia (SO). Methods: We conducted a retrospective comparative observational clinical study where the medical records of patients with the diagnosis of VKH and SO from 1999-2009 were reviewed. The study was carried out at the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital and The Eye Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Investigators recorded the age, gender, history of trauma, associated systemic disorders, and ocular and systemic manifestations. Patients were examined by an ophthalmologist as well as an internist. Results: A total of 316 patients were included: 256 patients had VKH and 60 patients had SO. The age range in the VKH group was 3-62 years with a mean age of 29∈±∈ 13 years. The age range in the SO group was 4-90 years with a mean age of 36∈±∈20 years. The mean follow-up period of patients with VKH was 58∈±∈50 months and patients with SO was 61∈±∈54 months. Out of 256 patients with VKH, there were 41 (16%) with systemic disorders. Comparatively, out of 60 patients with SO, no associated systemic autoimmune disorders or tumors were encountered. The difference between the VKH and SO groups was statistically significant (p∈=∈0.003). Conclusions: VKH and SO are autoimmune disorders targeting melanin-bearing cells. Both diseases are characterized by immunologic dysregulation. We found a statistically significant association of systemic disorders and malignancy with VKH compared to SO. This finding may suggest that the two disorders may have different etiology with similar ocular and systemic manifestations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1233
Number of pages5
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Lymphoma
  • Malignancy
  • Sympathetic ophthalmia
  • Uveitis
  • Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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