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Free Content Bilateral necrotizing scleritis and blindness in the myelodysplastic syndrome presumably due to relapsing polychondritis

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The purpose of this study was to report a case of bilateral blindness, bilateral necrotizing scleritis, and bilateral deafness in a patient with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In such a patient, the possibility of relapsing polychondritis (RPC) associated with MDS must be considered.

Case Report/Methods:

A 66-year-old patient suffered from myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Shortly before his death, he became bilaterally blind and deaf. A biopsy was taken from the conjunctiva and the bone marrow, and both eyes were obtained after death for further investigation. Findings of the clinical and laboratory work-up for the patient's hematologic disorder as well as an examination of the eyes by light microscopy and immunohistochemistry are presented.


Ocular sections showed a diffuse necrotizing scleritis with moderate uveitis and no identifiable infectious agent. Neither was there any evidence of a leukemic infiltration. – The deafness had been due to inner ear failure, and the patient died of a cardiac failure.


Non-infectious scleritis associated with inner ear deafness is a strong indication of relapsing polychondritis (RPC). Furthermore, RPC can be associated with MDS. Thus, in addition to leukemic infiltration and infection involving ocular structures, ophthalmologists and otolargyngologists should be aware of the association between MDS and RPC and the potential complications.

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Keywords: autoimmune disease; histology; myelodysplastic syndrome; necrotizing scleritis; relapsing polychondritis

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Germany and 2: Department of Ophthalmic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC

Publication date: 01 April 2000

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