Is White Spot Family of Retinal Disorders Linked to Inherited Immune Dysfunction?
July 19, 2009
In a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers report that white spot syndromes may be related to increased autoimmunity. Patients with these syndromes had an increased prevalence of systemic autoimmunity and this finding extended to the patients’ first- and second-degree relatives as well.
Patients with white spot syndromes (WSS) were asked to complete a questionnaire about their medical histories and the autoimmune disease histories of their family members. One hundred and fourteen questionnaires covering the history of 114 patients and 1098 family members were collected. The number of WSS patients with a self-reported systemic autoimmune disease was 23%; 10% of family members had at least one systemic autoimmune disease. The prevalence of autoimmunity was more common among first degree relatives than second-degree relatives.
The authors note that these rates are higher than the overall prevalence of systemic autoimmune diseases and that checking patients with WSS for autoimmune diseases may be helpful. By not contacting the relatives directly, some of the results may be underestimated and the size may have some impact on the results. However, these findings raise an additional consideration for the ophthalmologists who manage these patients.
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