Background. Ocular lymphoma is an uncommon cause of chronic vitreitis or uveitis, often refractory to steroid treatment, and frequently representing another site of multifocal primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Methods. The authors reviewed the medical and ophthalmologic records of 24 patients with ocular lymphoma; 23 had associated PCNSL.
Results. In half, the eyes were the initial site of disease; in the others central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma developed before, or concurrent with, ocular lymphoma. Most patients had bilateral ocular symptoms; slit-lamp examination revealed asymptomatic disease in four. Vitrectomy was not always diagnostic, particularly in patients who had received steroids. Ocular ultrasound, performed on seven patients, provided an objective measure of disease and treatment response. Patients received a variety of therapeutic combinations of steroids, radiation, and chemotherapy, including high-dose cytosine arabinoside. Despite therapy, eventual ocular or CNS relapse or both was common. Thirteen patients have died, 12 with known recurrent CNS disease.
Conclusions. Ocular lymphoma frequently is associated with PCNSL. The diagnosis should be considered in patients with steroid-resistant chronic vitreitis or uveitis. Patients with PCNSL should be carefully evaluated for ocular involvement, regardless of symptoms. Treatment can contribute to prolonged remission, but eventual ocular or CNS relapse is the rule.