Classical Pathology of Sympathetic Ophthalmia Presented in a Unique Case

Shida Chen 1, Mary E Aronow 2, Charles Wang 3, Defen Shen 1, Chi-Chao Chan*, 1
1 Immunopathology Section, Laboratory of Immunology, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
2 Clinical Branch, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
3 Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE, USA

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© Chen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the 10 Center Dr., 10N103, NIH/NEI, Bethesda, MD 20892-1857, USA; Tel: 301-496-0417; Fax: 301-402-8664; E-mail:


The ocular pathology of sympathetic ophthalmia is demonstrated in a 10 year-old boy who sustained a penetrating left globe injury and subsequently developed sympathetic ophthalmia in the right eye two months later. Two and a half weeks following extensive surgical repair of the left ruptured globe, he developed endophthalmitis and was treated with oral and topical fortified antibiotics. One month after the initial injury, a progressive corneal ulcer of the left eye led to perforation and the need for emergent corneal transplantation. The surgical specimen revealed fungus, Scedosporium dehoogii. The boy received systemic and topical anti-fungal therapy. Two months following the penetrating globe injury of the left eye, a granulomatous uveitis developed in the right eye. Sympathetic ophthalmia was suspected and the patient began treatment with topical and oral corticosteroids. Given the concern of vision loss secondary to sympathetic ophthalmia in the right eye, as well as poor vision and hypotony in the injured eye, the left eye was enucleated. Microscopically, granulomatous inflammation with giant cells was noted within a cyclitic membrane which filled the anterior and posterior chamber of the left globe. Other classic features including Dalen-Fuchs nodules were identified. Small, choroidal, ill-defined granulomas and relative sparing of the choriocapillaris were present. Molecular analysis did not identify evidence of remaining fungal infection. The pathology findings were consistent with previously described features of sympathetic ophthalmia. The present case is unique in that co-existing fungal infection may have potentiated the risk for developing sympathetic ophthalmia in the fellow eye.

Keywords: Infection, injury, pathology, sympathetic ophthalmia.