Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Retinal vessel oxygen saturation is affected in uveitis associated with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease
  1. Ahmed M Abu El-Asrar1,2,
  2. Abdulrahman F AlBloushi1,
  3. Priscilla W Gikandi1,
  4. Sveinn Hákon Hardarson3,4,
  5. Einar Stefánsson3,4
  1. 1 Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2 Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  3. 3 Department of Physiology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
  4. 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ahmed M Abu El-Asrar, Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh 11411, Saudi Arabia; abuelasrar{at}


Aims To discover whether retinal vessel oxygen metabolism is affected in uveitis associated with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease.

Methods 41 patients with VKH disease (82 eyes) and 12 healthy subjects (24 eyes) matched in age and gender were prospectively evaluated. Retinal oxygen saturation and vessel calibre were measured with a non-invasive spectrophotometric retinal oximeter (Oxymap T1).

Results In healthy controls, mean arteriolar oxygen saturation (%) was 93.8±5.9 and venular saturation was 60.1±5.8. In acute VKH uveitic phase associated with exudative retinal detachment (n=12), arteriolar and venular oxygen saturation values were 104.7±7.8 and 67.9±7.7, respectively, and both are significantly higher than the healthy group (p<0.001; p=0.001, respectively). In patients with VKH disease who recovered after immunosuppressive therapy and restored normal anatomy without ‘sunset glow fundus’ (n=13), oximetry values were 96.4±9.6 and 61.6±7.5, respectively, similar to healthy controls. In patients with ‘sunset glow fundus’ and chorioretinal atrophy (n=16), saturation levels were 88.6±7.8 and 50.0±13.1, respectively, significantly lower than healthy controls (p=0.02; p=0.003, respectively). These patients also had significantly smaller diameter of retinal arterioles and venules compared with controls (p=0.035; p=0.001, respectively).

Conclusions Retinal oxygen metabolism is altered in uveitis associated with VKH disease. Oxygen saturation profile is abnormal in acute uveitic phase of the disease and returns to normal in those who recover with normal fundus appearance, but not in eyes that suffer permanent anatomical damage with ‘sunset glow fundus’ and chorioretinal atrophy. Retinal oximetry may be of value in evaluating vascular and metabolic aspects of posterior uveitis.

  • uveitis
  • vogt-koyanagi-harada disease
  • retinal oxymetry
  • retinal vessel oxygen saturation

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. The first author's name was transposed and should be cited as Abu El-Asrar AM.

  • Contributors Concept and design: all authors. Analysis and interpretation of data: AMA, AFA, PWG, ES. Wrote the manuscript: AMA. Critical review: all authors. Revision and approval of the final manuscript: all authors.

  • Funding This work was supported by King Saud University through Vice Deanship of Research Chair, Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Research Chair in Ophthalmology (AMA), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

  • Competing interests A. M. Abu El-Asrar, None; A. F. AlBloushi, None; P. W. Gikandi, None; S.H. Hardarson, Oxymap ehf. (C, I), P; E. Stefánsson, Oxymap ehf. (I, S). E. Stefánsson and S.H. Hardarson have financial interests in the retinal oximeter used in the study.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • At a glance
    Keith Barton Jost B Jonas James Chodosh