Keeping an eye on syphilis

Daini Ong, Gaurav Bhardwaj, Jason Ong, Marcus Chen, Lyndell Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objective The objective of this article was to alert general practitioners (GPs) to the increase in ocular syphilis in the context of a worsening epidemic of syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM). Method This study used a retrospective case review of ocular syphilis cases that presented to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital from January 2015 to August 2016. Results Twelve patients (19 eyes) were identified, including 11 males. The mean age was 35 years, and seven men were identified as MSM. Two men were diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection at presentation. Blurred vision (n = 10) and/or floaters (n = 9) were the most common presenting symptoms. All patients had uveitis as the manifestation of the ocular involvement; however, redness and pain were not universally reported. Discussion GPs should be alert to the possibility of ocular syphilis at the time of syphilis diagnosis, particularly among MSM. Urgent ophthalmic referral is required if the patient is found to have new onset visual symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-404
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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