To evaluate ocular involvement in a cohort of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients of a tertiary referral center and to compare the results with the existing literature.
Patients underwent a complete ophthalmological evaluation, including visual acuity, slit-lamp examination, fluorescein staining, Schirmer-I test, Goldmann applanation tonometry, fundoscopy, 10-2 automated threshold visual fields, fundus autofluorescence and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography to screen for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) macular toxicity.
A total of 161 patients (16 men and 145 women) were enrolled in this study. The mean age was 47.6 years and the mean disease duration was 11.5 years. Fifty patients (31.1%) had at least one ocular manifestation of SLE. The most frequent manifestation was dry eye syndrome (12.4%), immediately followed by cataracts (11.2%) and HCQ macular toxicity (11.2%). Among patients with HCQ maculopathy, two presented with an atypical spectral-domain optical coherence tomography pattern. Five patients (3.1%) presented with glaucoma, two patients (1.2%) presented with SLE retinopathy while only one presented with lupus choroidopathy (0.6%).
Compared with previous studies, we conclude there has been a significant reduction in disease-related ocular complications, particularly those associated with poor systemic disease control. On the other hand, drug and age-related complications are assuming a prominent role in the ophthalmic care of these patients.