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Case report: papillitis as the sole ocular sign in Lyme disease.

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Lyme disease is a spirochetal
disease responsible for a multitude of ocular and systemic manifestations, and patients may present to ophthalmologists and general clinicians with a wide variety of generalized and ocular signs which can result in chronic and disabling sequelae. Here we report two cases of patients suffering with
Lyme disease who developed a rare associated papillitis.


A 48-year-old Scottish man presented with diminished visual acuity, painful ocular eye movements, photophobia, and mild ataxia. Fundus examination revealed bilateral disc swelling with associated hemorrhages in the right eye. Following exclusion of raised intracranial pressure as the cause of the findings, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot serology confirmed a positive result for Borrelia burgdorferi which, along with ophthalmic signs and exposure to an endemic area, confirmed the diagnosis of
Lyme disease. A 79-year-old gentleman presented with intermittent short-duration “gray film” in his left eye. Fundus examination revealed left optic disc swelling. He was positive for
Lyme‘s serology and his condition was treated with 2 weeks of intravenous ceftriaxone.


The first patient’s inflammation resolved and visual acuity returned to normal following a course of high-dose steroids and intravenous ceftriaxone, followed by oral doxycycline. The second patient’s condition improved with high-dose intravenous ceftriaxone.


These patients highlight the fact that
Lyme disease should be considered as a differential diagnosis for patients presenting with papillitis. With the incidence of this
disease rising and more cases being reported, practitioners in
Lyme-endemic areas need to be aware of the various manifestations so that appropriate referrals for treatment can be made.

Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:1093-7. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S32601. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

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