The Risk of Sympathetic Ophthalmia Associated with Open-Globe Injury Management Strategies: A Meta-analysis

Tim J. Patterson, Adam Kedzierski, David McKinney, Jonathan Ritson, Chris McLean, Weidong Gu, Marcus Colyer, Scott F. McClellan, Sarah C. Miller, Grant A. Justin, Annette K. Hoskin, Kara Cavuoto, James Leong, Andrés Rousselot Ascarza, Fasika A. Woreta, Kyle E. Miller, Matthew C. Caldwell, William G. Gensheimer, Tom Williamson, Felipe Dhawahir-ScalaPeter Shah, Andrew Coombes, Gangadhara Sundar, Robert A. Mazzoli, Malcolm Woodcock, Stephanie L. Watson, Ferenc Kuhn, Sophia Halliday, Renata S.M. Gomes, Rupesh Agrawal, Richard J. Blanch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Topic: Sympathetic ophthalmia (SO) is a sight-threatening granulomatous panuveitis caused by a sensitizing event. Primary enucleation or primary evisceration, versus primary repair, as a risk management strategy after open-globe injury (OGI) remains controversial. Clinical Relevance: This systematic review was conducted to report the incidence of SO after primary repair compared with that of after primary enucleation or primary evisceration. This enabled the reporting of an estimated number needed to treat. Methods: Five journal databases were searched. This review was registered with International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (identifier, CRD42021262616). Searches were carried out on June 29, 2021, and were updated on December 10, 2022. Prospective or retrospective studies that reported outcomes (including SO or lack of SO) in a patient population who underwent either primary repair and primary enucleation or primary evisceration were included. A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines. Random effects modelling was used to estimate pooled SO rates and absolute risk reduction (ARR). Results: Eight studies reporting SO as an outcome were included in total. The included studies contained 7500 patients and 7635 OGIs. In total, 7620 OGIs met the criteria for inclusion in this analysis; SO developed in 21 patients with OGI. When all included studies were pooled, the estimated SO rate was 0.12% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.00%–0.25%) after OGI. Of 779 patients who underwent primary enucleation or primary evisceration, no SO cases were reported, resulting in a pooled SO estimate of 0.05% (95% CI, 0.00%–0.21%). For primary repair, the pooled estimate of SO rate was 0.15% (95% CI, 0.00%–0.33%). The ARR using a random effects model was −0.0010 (in favour of eye removal; 95% CI, −0.0031 [in favor of eye removal] to 0.0011 [in favor of primary repair]). Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations analysis highlighted a low certainty of evidence because the included studies were observational, and a risk of bias resulted from missing data. Discussion: Based on the available data, no evidence exists that primary enucleation or primary evisceration reduce the risk of secondary SO. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-567
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Early online date18 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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