Sympathetic Ophthalmia in Patients with Enucleation or Evisceration: Pathology Laboratory and IRIS® Registry Experience

Khanh Bui, Maurizio Tomaiuolo, Kaylene Carter, Codrin Iacob, Vamsee Neerukonda, Anna Stagner, Zaynab Sajjadi, Katherine V. Escobar, Paula Ordoñez Armijos, Ralph C. Eagle, Sonia Mehta, James P. Dunn, Leslie Hyman, Tatyana Milman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Sympathetic ophthalmia (SO) is a rare bilateral granulomatous panuveitis that can follow surgical or nonsurgical ocular trauma in one eye. Because its diagnosis requires clinical-pathologic correlation, the true incidence of SO is unknown, and there is a need to understand the recent trends in risk factors and frequency of this condition. Methods: Pathology records of all enucleated or eviscerated (ENEV) eyes at three pathology laboratories were reviewed. Data collected included patient demographics, procedure indication, pathology diagnosis, and clinical history of trauma and uveitis. IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) was searched for all patients with SO, acquired absence of eye (AAE), and/or ENEV. Data obtained included patient demographics, ocular procedures, and preoperative diagnoses within 30 days of AAE/ENEV. Results: In the pathology laboratory setting, the incidence of SO over a 36-year period in patients who underwent ENEV was 0.2% (20/9,092); the 5-year incidence ranged from 0.0 to 0.3%. Among the 20 eyes with SO, the inciting event was surgical trauma in 50% (10/20), nonsurgical trauma in 45% (9/20), and missing/undetermined in 5% (1/20). SO was suspected preoperatively in 7/20 (35%) patients. Clinical concern for SO and ruptured globe were indications for ENEV in 50/9,092 (0.5%) and 872/9,092 (10%) patients, respectively. In the IRIS Registry, 0.7% (199/27,830) of patients with AAE/ENEV had diagnosis of SO. The frequency of SO between 2015 and 2020 was 0.01% (7,371/62,318,249); of these 7,371 cases, 199 (3%) had AAE/ENEV. In 25,975 patients with available data, injury and SO were listed as diagnoses less than 30 days prior to AAE/ENEV in 909 (4%) and 63 (0.2%) cases, respectively. Conclusion: The frequency of SO in recent decades has been low. Most cases of SO are not managed with eye removal. In histopathology-confirmed SO, surgical trauma is as frequent as nonsurgical trauma as an inciting etiology of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-151
Number of pages14
JournalOcular Oncology and Pathology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • IRIS registry
  • Pathology
  • Sympathetic ophthalmia
  • Sympathetic ophthalmia enucleation
  • Sympatheticophthalmia evisceration


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