We prospectively studied 47 sarcoidosis suspects and compared conjunctival and transbronchial lung biopsies in these patients. Thirty-four patients had positive findings on biopsy by either method. The transbronchial biopsy was positive in 31 patients, and the conjunctival was positive in 19. The transbronchial lung biopsy was more likely to be positive in black patients (p = 0.009) and in patients with pulmonary infiltrates on chest x ray (p = 0.0044). In comparison, the conjunctival biopsy was more likely to be positive in patients with conjunctival follicles (p = 0.036), ocular abnormalities consistent with sarcoidosis (p = 0.02), and in patients with pulmonary infiltrates on chest x ray (p = 0.029). Iritis was present in 12 patients, enlarged lacrimal glands in three, and vitritis in five. We conclude that the conjunctival biopsy is an effective means of diagnosing sarcoidosis and that every sarcoidosis patient should have an ophthalmic examination.
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