Article Text

other Versions

Controversies in ocular tuberculosis
  1. Marcus Ang1,2,3,
  2. Soon-Phaik Chee1,2,3
  1. 1Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore, Singapore
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marcus Ang, Singapore National Eye Centre, 11 Third Hospital Avenue, Singapore 168751, Singapore; marcus.ang{at}


Ocular tuberculosis still remains a presumptive, clinical diagnosis in the presence of supportive clinical signs and investigations, while in the absence of other possible causes of uveitis. The purpose of this review is to discuss three controversies of ocular tuberculosis today. First, it is unclear from many reports on how the diagnosis of ocular tuberculosis was defined, and if they included ‘probable’ or ‘possible’ diagnoses. Thus, there is a need to standardise the terminology used for ocular tuberculosis to allow for comparisons among studies. Second, the investigative approach is heterogeneous worldwide and there is currently no agreement on the pathogenesis of ocular tuberculosis. A suggested clinical approach involves first identifying supportive ocular signs, followed by a step-ladder approach of using various investigations such as nucleic acid amplification tests and interferon-γ release assays, before confirming a ‘definite’ case of ocular tuberculosis. Third, there are currently no guidelines for the commencement or duration of antitubercular therapy in patients with ocular tuberculosis. The current review highlights the need for a collaboration from ophthalmologists around the world to establish a consensus on the terminology, guidelines on first-line investigations to use and guidance on antitubercular and corticosteroid therapy for ocular tuberculosis.

  • Microbiology
  • Inflammation

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors met the ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) criteria: substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data; drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and final approval of the version to be published.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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

  • Data sharing statement Additional unpublished data may be available from the corresponding author.

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.