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July 2015

The Uncertainty Regarding Antiretinal Antibodies

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(7):744-745. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.0812

Autoimmune retinopathy is a term that encompasses cancer-associated retinopathy, melanoma-associated retinopathy, and nonparaneoplastic retinopathy. The diagnosis of autoimmune retinopathy remains challenging, partly due to lack of consensus regarding diagnostic criteria. Basic science experiments have revealed autoimmune retinopathy to be an antibody-mediated disease. The general requirement for diagnosing autoimmune retinopathy is clinical evidence of retinal degeneration in the presence of serum antiretinal antibodies (ARAs). Some laboratories are now offering ARA testing to outside institutions, and in some cases, this is offered as a commercial service.1,2 Antiretinal antibody testing is commonly performed using 1 or more techniques: Western blot, immunohistochemistry, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Antiretinal antibody testing could potentially have an important role in the diagnosis of autoimmune retinopathy. However, several hurdles and uncertainties should be overcome before this testing can truly become clinically reliable.