Toxoplasmosis chorioretinitis mimicking acute retinal necrosis associated with local corticosteroid

Jason N. Crosson, Sanjana Kuthyar, Jessica G. Shantha, Matthew R. Debiec, Philip W. Laird, Cindy S. Hwang, Hans E. Grossniklaus, Steven Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The cases discussed highlight the atypical presentation and diagnostic dilemmas of toxoplasmosis with fulminant retinal necrosis and the potentially devastating visual outcomes of toxoplasma chorioretinitis following local corticosteroid exposure. Case presentation: We report a series of three patients who presented with toxoplasmosis mimicking severe acute retinal necrosis. Patients were between 59 and 77 years old and had been exposed to local corticosteroids preceding our evaluation. All patients demonstrated diffuse retinal whitening with severe vision loss on presentation. Polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) was diagnostic in two patients, and histopathologic examination of a vitrectomy specimen was diagnostic in one patient. All cases of retinitis resolved with anti-parasitic medication; however, visual acuity failed to improve in all patients due to disease severity and presentation. Conclusions: Local corticosteroid injection may trigger or exacerbate toxoplasmosis chorioretinitis, leading to fulminant retinal necrosis and severe vision loss. Toxoplasma chorioretinitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with clinical features of acute retinal necrosis, particularly following local corticosteroid injection regardless of their baseline systemic immune status. Diagnostic vitrectomy may be helpful in patients in whom PCR testing is negative and ocular toxoplasmosis is suspected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalInternational Journal of Retina and Vitreous
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 3 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute retinal necrosis
  • Corticosteroids
  • Toxoplasmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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