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April 1940


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, Mount Sinai and Beth Israel Hospitals.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1940;23(4):693-704. doi:10.1001/archopht.1940.00860130785002

Syphilis is a chronic infectious disease caused by Spirochaeta pallida, which invades all the tissues of the body. No organ is immune to the possible effects of the invasion. The manifestations of the disease may appear at any time as long as the micro-organism is active. It is the dermatologist who usually sees the first and most evident signs of the fresh infection and who is in a position to treat the disease possibly before the development of serious internal complications. The eye may be involved in the earliest stage of the infection. In ocular involvement vital and delicate tissues are affected.

Today the study of the eye is never neglected during the examination of the patient. Irregularity and "baying" of the pupil may be the first signs indicating possible syphilitic infection. Plastic iritis may occur in the early months of syphilis. Neuroretinitis may be observed early in the disease