This study will look for the presence in blood of a substance called vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEGF) in patients with uveitis (eye inflammation). It will also look for
this substance in eye fluid samples taken from patients with uveitis who are undergoing eye
Some patients with uveitis experience some vision loss during an inflammatory attack because
of swelling (edema) in a particular area of the retina called the macula, which is involved
in visual acuity. It may be that VEGF is involved in the development of macular edema.
Patients with uveitis who participate in this study will have about 10 cc (2 teaspoons) of
blood drawn to be examined for VEGF. They will also undergo a procedure called fluorescein
angiography to look at the blood vessels of the eye. A dye called sodium fluorescein is
injected into the blood stream through a vein. After the dye reaches the blood vessels of
the eye, photographs are taken of the retina.
In addition, patients with uveitis who are undergoing eye surgery will have a tissue
specimen (either aqueous fluid or vitreous gel) collected for examination for the presence
Increased intraocular and systemic levels of the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEGF) is associated with new vessel growth in the eye, such as diabetic
retinopathy. Recent work using immunopathologic techniques have shown that VEGF is
upregulated in both experimentally induced uveitis and in uveitic eyes as well, with no
evidence of neovascularization. This pilot study will evaluate the level of VEGF in the
blood of uveitic patients with and without macular edema. This level will be determined
also in the ocular fluid of those patients that are undergoing ocular surgery. These levels
will be compared with age and sex matched controls.
For Uveitis Patients:
Evidence on ocular examination in the past or presently of intraocular inflammation, with
cells and haze in the vitreous for the intermediate and posterior uveitis patients.
In order to demonstrate the presence or absence of macular edema, a fluorescein angiogram
will be attempted on all patients. However, if the patient is unable or not willing to
undergo the test, then if two observers from the LI can substantiate independently that
there is or is not evidence of cystoid edema, the patient may be included.