THE DIAGNOSIS of rheumatic disease of the eyes was made with great frequency in the past. It has slowly been relegated to obscurity as more specific etiologic factors in disease have been uncovered. At present, it represents a "wastebasket" diagnosis, hard to substantiate and made only infrequently, and the etiology is unknown.
The association of inflammation of the episclera and sclera with diseases of the articular structures of the body was reported by Hutchinson1 in 1885, by Fuchs2 in 1895 and by Wangenmann3 in 1897. Verhoeff and King4 reported a case of a perforating scleral lesion associated with rheumatoid arthritis; these authors discussed similarly reported cases of a condition designated as scleromalacia perforans. Smoleroff5 reported 3 cases of advanced rheumatoid arthritis and scleral nodules; the pathologic changes were deep abscesses in the sclera.
Kneis6 referred to rheumatism as the etiologic factor in iritis, cyclitis,
LISMAN JV. RHEUMATOID INVOLVEMENT OF THE EXTRAOCULAR MUSCLES. Arch Ophthalmol. 1949;42(4):410-415. doi:10.1001/archopht.1949.00900050418006