Ocular sarcoidosis misdiagnosed as primary intraocular lymphoma

Andrea D. Birnbaum, Wendy Huang, Ozlem Sahin, Howard H. Tessler, Debra A. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe patients initially carrying a diagnosis of primary intraocular lymphoma who were ultimately diagnosed with ocular sarcoidosis. Methods: The medical records of patients evaluated between 1995 and 2007 fitting the criteria described earlier were identified, and pertinent clinical findings allowing for the diagnosis of sarcoidosis are described. Results: Nine patients between the ages of 52 and 83 were referred with a diagnosis of primary intraocular lymphoma but were ultimately diagnosed with sarcoidosis. The most common clinical signs found in these patients that are atypical for primary intraocular lymphoma but common in sarcoidosis were multifocal choroiditis (n = 7) and cystoid macular edema (n = 6). Additional findings included keratic precipitates, posterior synechiae, and Koeppe nodules. Chest computerized tomography was consistent with sarcoidosis in seven of eight tested patients, and five of these patients had normal chest x-rays. Other findings included elevated angiotensin-converting enzyme and/or lysozyme, and biopsy revealing noncaseating granulomas. Conclusion: Although primary intraocular lymphoma should always be in the differential diagnosis of older patients who present with signs of ocular inflammation, ophthalmologists must also consider other etiologies, including sarcoidosis. A chest computerized tomography may be helpful in the diagnosis, particularly when laboratory findings are supportive of sarcoidosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Inflammation
  • Lymphoma
  • PIOL
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Uveitis
  • Vitritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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