Therapy Insight: the recognition and treatment of retinal manifestations of systemic vasculitis

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A variety of retinal signs can occur in patients who have systemic vasculitides, or who experience complications of these diseases or their treatment. Although treatment of these retinal manifestations is usually the treatment of the systemic disease, specific treatment is occasionally indicated to preserve vision. The more prevalent of the systemic vasculitides are giant cell arteritis, polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener's granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, relapsing polychondritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Less frequently occurring vasculitides include Takayasu's arteritis, Goodpasture's disease, microscopic polyangiitis and Henoch-Schönlein purpura, as well as vasculitis secondary to scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis. This article describes the pathogenesis, clinical features and treatment of retinal manifestations of systemic vasculitides.

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