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Retrobulbar optic neuritis and cystoid macular edema as a first manifestation of lyme disease

Alexandra Tzoukeva, Ara Kaprelyan, Diana Radkova, Daniela Arabadjieva


Lyme disease is a multi-system disorder caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdoferi. Eye manifestations are a rare involvement. We report two cases of patients who developed a retrobulbar optic neuritis and a cystoid macular edema as a sole clinical presenting in Lyme disease.

A 42-year-old female presented with left eye decreased visual acuity and painful ocular movement. Dilated funduscopy and neurological examination were normal. A diagnosis of left eye retrobulbar optic neuritis was made. The brain and spinal cord MRI showed typical lesions characteristic of MS. Serological tests for Lyme disease revealed positive results for IgM ELISA and Western blot. The possible serologically proven Lyme disease was diagnosed. Visual acuity returned to normal following a course of high-dose steroids and intravenous antibiotic, after by oral antibiotic. A 28-year-old male presented with left eye blurred vision and intermittent blurring vision in his right eye. Dilated funduscopy revealed bilateral cystoid macular edema (left more than right). He was positive for Lyme serology, IgM ELISA and Western blot, and intravenous antibiotic therapy was commenced, followed by oral antibiotic. Visual acuity was restored and fuduscopy was normal.

In summary, although Lyme disease is an uncommon cause of these neuro-ophthalmic complications, our two patients highlight the importance of considering this disorder as a differential diagnosis and to initiate an early adequate therapy.


Lyme disease; retrobulbar optic neuritis; cystoid macular edema

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About The Authors

Alexandra Tzoukeva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Neurology and Neuroscience

Ara Kaprelyan
Medical University of Varna

Department of Neurology and Neuroscience

Diana Radkova
Medical University of Varna

Department of Infectious, Epidemiology and Tropical medicine

Daniela Arabadjieva
Medical University of Varna

Department of Neurology and Neuroscience

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