Ocular melanoma presenting as a case of panophthalmitis in a 78-year-old Nigerian woman (masquerade syndrome): an uncommon finding in Benin City, Nigeria


M. A. Nzegwu, Department of Morbid Anatomy, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), P.M.B111, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria (e-mail: martin_nze@yahoo.com).


Theodore states that the term ‘masquerade syndrome’ first appeared in the ophthalmic literature in 1967 to describe a conjunctival carcinoma that presented as chronic conjunctivitis. Since then, the masquerade syndrome label has been applied to a group of disorders that mimic ocular inflammatory disease. Although some benign conditions can be considered masquerade syndromes, most often the term refers to malignant entities. Tsai and O’Brien also report that ocular oncology, the subspecialty that concerns itself with ocular and orbital malignancies, is by nature a field of uncommon disorders. A discussion of the masquerade syndrome therefore becomes a study in uncommon presentations of uncommon diseases. Nevertheless, the subject deserves wide attention because, in many cases, the diseases that masquerade are not only vision-threatening but potentially fatal. Significant morbidity and mortality can be averted by early recognition and diagnosis of the masquerade. In this article, we present a case of a 78-year-old Nigerian woman who had an ocular melanoma that presented as a panophthalmitis, a rare case of masquerade syndrome in our environment.