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Article
August 3, 1918

THE ALLERGIC BASIS OF SYMPATHETIC OPHTHALMIA

JAMA. 1918;71(5):380-381. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600310058016
Abstract

The allergic theory of a sympathetic ophthalmia was first advocated by Elschnig.3 He assumed that an injury to the uvea of the exciting eye led to the disintegration of uveal tissue which was absorbed and, acting as antigen, produced hypersensitiveness of the organism and especially of the other eye, whereupon the circulating antigen would react with the sensitized eye and produce an allergic reaction manifested clinically as sympathetic ophthalmia.

To fulfil the tenets of this theory some constituent of uveal tissue must be able to act as an organ-specific antigen in the same animal, and ocular allergy or anaphylaxis must be demonstrable in a properly sensitized animal by means of the antigen introduced into the blood stream; that is, uveal tissue absorbed from one eye must be capable of sensitizing the other eye in the same animal.

Elschnig used complement fixation for the study of the immune bodies; other

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