“Persistence of Memory” – Multimodal imaging of delayed sympathetic ophthalmia

Carl S. Wilkins, Masako Chen, Gaurav Chandra, Thomas O. Muldoon, Paul A. Sidoti, C. Michael Samson, Richard B. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe a case of late post-surgical sympathetic ophthalmia documented with multimodal imaging. Observations: A 74-year-old male presented to the urgent care of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary with blurry vision and discomfort in his left eye for three weeks. His vision was 20/50, with intraocular pressure of 13 mmHg, and slit lamp examination was significant for conjunctival congestion, 1+ anterior segment cell and flare, and diffuse keratic precipitates. His right eye was no light perception with a condensed hyphema, intraocular lens and inferonasal tube. His medical history included coronary artery bypass, prostate cancer, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. His ocular history included blunt trauma to the right eye at age 11 with development of a traumatic macular hole and later rhegmatogenous retinal detachment at age 53, repaired with multiple vitreoretinal procedures. He developed glaucoma in the right eye and was treated with a tube shunt and ultimately transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (TSCPC) 7 years later, 13 years prior to his presentation of the left eye. Dilated fundus examination of his left eye revealed diffuse chorioretinal folds in the macula without any discrete chorioretinal lesions. Ultrasound of the right showed serous macular detachments with scleral thickening. Presumptive diagnosis of sympathetic ophthalmia was made and oral corticosteroid therapy was initiated. Subsequent SD-OCT and en-face OCT-A demonstrated Dalen-Fuchs nodules within the macula underlying areas of resolved serous detachment, after 6 weeks of oral steroids and initiation of immunomodulatory therapy (IMT). Conclusions: Sympathetic ophthalmia may rarely present with very delayed onset, and TSCPC is an uncommon inciting event. These patients may develop serous detachment, choroidal folds and inflammatory nodules identifiable on exam and multimodal imaging, which can resolve when treated appropriately. OCT-A may provide utility in monitoring response to immunosuppressive treatment in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101572
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Dalen-Fuchs nodule
  • OCT-A
  • Retinal detachment
  • Sympathetic ophthalmia
  • Transscleral cyclophotocoagulation
  • Vitrectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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