April 19, 2016
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Late diagnosis lowers chances of saving vision, life of patients with primary intraocular lymphoma

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BASSANO DEL GRAPPA, Italy — Primary intraocular lymphoma responds well to treatment in many cases and may have a good prognosis if diagnosed at an early stage, according to one specialist.

“The problem is that the lymphoma is often misdiagnosed and treated as an inflammatory lesion with systemic or even intraocular corticosteroids. The patient does not respond to the treatment, and the tumor progresses. Since it is often associated with lymphomas of the brain, this delay may not only affect vision, but greatly reduce the chances of survival,” Luigi Fontana, MD, said at the Bassano Ophthalmology Meeting.

Luigi Fontana

The signs of intraocular lymphoma can be seen in the fundus as multiple yellowish patchy lesions in the subretinal space. As soon as there is a suspicion, ophthalmologists should send the patient to a specialized center with facilities for cytological and histological tests and the ability to connect several specialists — ophthalmologists, hematologists, radiologists and internists — to formulate a multi-specialist diagnosis.

“This is not easy in our national territory, and we often rely on laboratories abroad,” Fontana said.

Systemic and intraocular medications such as methotrexate have proved effective, but early and aggressive treatment in a specialized center is mandatory.

“The treatment does exist, but diagnosis is difficult, and this is what lowers the chances of saving vision and saving life in these patients,” he said. – by Michela Cimberle

Reference: Fontana L. Diagnosis and treatment of primary intraocular lymphoma. Presented at: Bassano Ophthalmology Meeting; April 9, 2016; Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Disclosure: Fontana reports no relevant financial disclosures.