Occlusive retinal vasculitis associated with systemic sclerosis and antiphospholipid antibodies

Caleb C. Ng, Sandip Suresh, James T. Rosenbaum, H. Richard McDonald, Emmett T. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report a series of patients with occlusive retinal vasculitis associated with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and elevated antiphospholipid antibody titers. Method: Case series. Main outcome measures included clinical and fluorescein angiographic findings at presentation and over time. Observations: Case 1 - A 61-year-old woman initially diagnosed with idiopathic, bilateral panuveitis and retinal vasculitis causing peripheral nonperfusion was subsequently diagnosed with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (lcSSc). Her ocular inflammation and retinal vasculitis were controlled with topical and periocular corticosteroids, but she eventually developed peripheral retinal vascular occlusion that progressed to macular ischemia 11 years after presentation. Repeat serologic evaluation detected interval development of antiphospholipid antibodies. Case 2 – A 58-year-old woman was found to have bilateral peripheral nonperfusion and retinal neovascularization in her right eye. Given her elevated hemoglobin A1c of 8.5%, she was diagnosed with presumed proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Three years after initial presentation, she was diagnosed with lcSSc. Subsequent serum workup detected elevated B2-glycoprotein antibody titers. Her peripheral nonperfusion progressed despite adequate glycemic control, resulting in further neovascularization in each eye. Case 3 – A 40-year-old woman with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (dcSSc) and elevated titers of anti-cardiolipin antibodies developed multiple branch retinal artery occlusions with subsequent neovascularization of the retina, optic disc, and angle in the right eye. Conclusion and Importance: Vision-threatening occlusive retinal vasculitis may develop in select patients with SSc. The presence of elevated anti-phospholipid antibody titers may confer increased risk for this vision-threatening complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101206
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • B2 glycoprotein
  • CREST syndrome
  • Cardiolipin
  • Phosphotidylserine
  • Retinal ischemia
  • Scleroderma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Occlusive retinal vasculitis associated with systemic sclerosis and antiphospholipid antibodies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this