To characterize the clinical features of ocular surface in gout patients in coastal area of Shandong Province in China.
A total of 380 consecutive gout patients were examined from January 2011 to May 2011. According to the course of gout, patients were divided into group A (<5 years), B (5-10 years) and C (>10 years). Group D (control group) was consist of 50 healthy subjects. Eyelids, lateral canthus, medial canthus, palpebral conjunctiva, sclera and cornea, anterior chamber, lens, anterior vitreous were examined by slit lamp to find whether there were deposition of uric acid crystals, ocular vascular tortuosity, redness and subconjunctival hemorrhage. The ophthalmic exams of visual acuity, intraocular pressure, fundus were used to assess any gout-related eye disease.
Uric acid crystals were found in 3 patients and the positions of the deposite were in corneal stroma, corneal epithelium and superficial stroma, and sclera respectively. The incidence was 0.79%. Dilatated and tortuous blood vessels in conjunctiva and sclera surface were found in 38 (23.8%), 40 (44.0%), 58 (45.0%), 9 (18.0%) patients in groups A, B, C and D, respectively. The differences between group B and D, group C and D were statistically significant (P<0.01, P<0.01). Transparent vesicles with metal-like reflected light in subconjunctiva were seen in 26 (16.2 %), 29 (31.9%), 41 (31.8%), 2 (4.00%) patients in groups A, B, C and D, respectively. The differences between A and D, B and D, C and D were statistically significant (P<0.05, P<0.01, P<0.01). Subconjunctival hemorrhage was found in all groups, the difference among the four groups showed no statistically significance.
Gout can cause ocular surface abnormalities, such as tophi deposition, subconjunctival transparent vesicles and hemorrhage, and vascular changes. These features have important clinical significance in early detection of the gout and prevention of eye injury.