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April 1970

Ophthalmic Manifestations of Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of ophthalmology (Dr. Robb) and neurology (Dr. Watters), Children's Hospital Medical Center, Harvard University Medical School, Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;83(4):426-435. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990030426007

Case histories of eight patients with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis are presented, with emphasis on ocular manifestations of the disease. This illness, familiar to European ophthalmologists, is previously unreported in the American ophthalmic literature. Focal chorioretinitis was present in four of the eight patients and was the most striking ocular manifestation. Nystagmus, cortical blindness, papilledema, and optic atrophy were also present in some patients. There is evidence that a myxovirus, probably that of rubeola, is the etiologic agent of this encephalitis; serologic and other tests to identify other etiologies for the chorioretinitis were negative except for possibly coincidental toxoplasmic infections in two patients. Further clarification of the retinal lesions awaits histopathologic study of affected eyes.