Clinical outcome of chronic immunosuppression in patients with non-infectious uveitis


Correspondence: Professor Susan Lightman, Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road, London, EC1V 2PD, UK. Email:


Aim: To determine the visual outcome and corticosteroid dose requirement in patients with non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment treated with corticosteroids and additional second-line immunosuppression.

Method: A retrospective, non-comparative case series was carried out. Seventy-two patients (141 eyes) with uncontrolled non-infectious uveitis on systemic prednisolone were treated with at least one second-line immunosuppressive agent in addition to systemic prednisolone and followed for at least 3 months. Visual acuity (VA), clinical disease activity, corticosteroid-sparing effect, disease relapses requiring corticosteroid dose increase, and side-effects from second-line agents were evaluated.

Results: At the end of the follow-up period (mean: 55.5 months), 70 eyes (49.6%) had VA of 6/9 or better. There was a reduction in the mean maintenance dose of prednisolone required before the introduction of the second-line agent (19 mg/day ± 2 SE) when compared to the mean maintenance dose of prednisolone at the end of the data collection (9 mg/day ± 1 SE; P < 0.001). There was also a significant reduction in the number of disease relapses requiring an increase in prednisolone dose after starting the second-line agents as compared to the year before (P < 0.02).

Conclusion: In patients with uveitis affecting the posterior segment, the addition of all second-line immunosuppressive therapy was effective in allowing reduction of the dose of systemic prednisolone to 10 mg/day or less, in controlling intraocular inflammation, reducing the number of relapses and in maintaining vision. Because of their side-effects, immunosuppressive treatment should be individualized and monitored closely but its addition is beneficial in the short and longer term.