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July 1970

Uveitis and Intraocular Treponemes

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;84(1):12-15. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990040014004

A study of aqueous humor specimens from 50 patients with active uveitis of undetermined etiology revealed that six of these patients had organisms in their aqueous which were morphologically indistinguishable from Treponema pallidum. The organisms from five of these six reacted specifically with rabbit anti-T pallidum globulin. Fifteen of the 50 uveitis patients had at least one reactive or weakly reactive serological test for syphilis, including 12 who had reactive or borderline positive fluorescent treponemal antibody (FTA-ABS) test results. Neither history of syphilis, physical examination, nor serological status of the patients could be correlated with the presence of intraocular organisms. Aqueous humor was obtained at surgery from 50 patients having senile cataracts, nonreactive serological test results, no history of syphilis, and no other clinically evident ocular disorder. No organisms resembling T pallidum were found in this control group.