Ocular phenotypes in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: a retrospective analysis in a single center over 7 years

Luping Wang*, Lingge Suo, Fangning Kou, Youjing Zhang, Mingming Li, Hao Wang, Giuseppe Casalino, Tunde Peto, Usha Chakravarthy, Yanling Wang, Weizhen Wu*, Ning Dong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the presence and type of ocular abnormalities in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

A retrospective cross-sectional study.

Observational report of ocular findings and their associations with age, sex, underlying disease and hematological parameters. HLH was defined according to the 2004 criteria, and the patients were enrolled from March 2013 to December 2021. Analysis began in July 2022 and ended in January 2023. The main outcome measures were ocular abnormalities associated with HLH and their potential risk factors.

Of 1525 HLH patients, 341 had ocular examinations, and 133 (133/341, 39.00%) had ocular abnormalities. Mean age at presentation was 30.21 ±14.42 years. The multivariate analysis indicated that old age, autoimmune disorders, decreasing red blood cell count, decreasing platelet count, and increasing fibrinogen level were independent risk factors of ocular involvement in HLH patients. The most common presenting ocular findings were posterior segment abnormalities (66 patients, 49.62%), including retinal/vitreous hemorrhage, serous retinal detachment, cytomegalovirus retinitis, optic disc swelling. Other HLH-associated ocular abnormalities included ocular surface infection (conjunctivitis, 34 patients, 25.56%; keratitis, 16 patients, 12.03%), subconjunctival hemorrhage (11 patients, 8.27%), chemosis (5 patients, 3.76%), anterior uveitis (11 patients, 8.27%), glucocorticoid induced glaucoma (5 patients, 3.76%), radiation cataract (1 patient, 0.75%), dacryoadenitis (2 patients, 1.50%), dacryocystitis (1 patients, 0.75%), orbital cellulitis (2 patients, 1.50%), orbital pseudotumor (2 patients, 1.50%) and strabismus (2 patients, 1.50%).

Eye involvement is not uncommon in HLH. Better awareness amongst both ophthalmologists and haematologists is necessary for prompt diagnosis and institution of appropriate management strategies with potential to save sight and life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-131
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Early online date16 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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