Real-Time PCR Test Detects Intraocular Inflammation

Eye Exam
The test requires a 1 mL sample.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held in New Orleans from November 12 to 15, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the ophthalmology experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO 2021 Meeting.


A multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test can effectively detect viral uveitis using a 0.1 mL sample according to research presented at the 2021 American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 meeting in New Orleans, held November 12-15.  

This study was performed using 23 samples collected from 19 patients suspected of having infectious uveitis. This RT-PCR was able to run 11 simultaneous tests on a 0.1 mL to 0.2 mL sample of aqueous humor including: herpes simplex viruses (HSV1+2), varicella zoster virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), rubella, toxoplasma, Treponema, Mycobacterium, bacterial 16s rRNA, and fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS).

The results showed that the suspected infections of those patients included 30% viral retinitis, 35% panuveitis and 9% viral anterior uveitis. To further determine the accuracy of this new PCR method, samples with a greater volume were run through both multiplex RT-PCR and hospital PCR, with a 100% agreement rate in positive results. Clinical suspicion always matched RT-PCR as well, except in mycobacterium and bacterial and fungal PCR. 

The investigators concluded that the multiplex RT-PCR is capable of simultaneously testing for 11 pathogens with a 0.1 mL sample. The test “has excellent clinical correlation for viral uveitis,” researchers pointed out. “This can be an excellent test in the workup of infectious uveitis.”

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Syeda S, Le KH, Lin X. Clinical utility and diagnostic accuracy of a new multiplex PCR developed in the United States for intraocular inflammation. Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting; November 12-15, 2021; New Orleans. Abstract PO349.