To assess the prevalence of antiphospholipid antibodies in patients with occlusive retinal vascular disorders.
Seventy-five consecutive patients (44 with central retinal vein occlusions, 24 with branch venous occlusions, five with vasculitis plus branch venous occlusion, and two with arterial occlusions) were screened for antiphospholipid antibodies and compared with a control group composed of outpatients with similar systemic vascular disorders.
The antibody assay for one patient was positive for lupus anticoagulant and the antibody assay for three other patients was positive for anticardiolipin antibodies. These four patients had central or branch retinal vein ocelusion and presented with several vascular risk factors. Comparison of the retinal vascular occlusion and the control groups showed no difference in the levels of anticardiolipin antibodies or lupus anticoagulant.
Antiphospholipid antibodies did not seem to be a feature of retinal vein occlusion, but in rare cases (5%) they may contribute to the occlusive phenomenon. A systematic screening does not seem to be justified, but it may be valuable to test for antiphospholipid antibodies in patients without conventional risk factors and in patients with clotting screen abnormalities, particularly if associated with lupuslike syndrome or other elements of the primary antiphospholipid syndrome.