Are some people with uveitis being given the wrong diagnosis?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / National Eye Research Centre Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Robert Barry
  • Institute: University of Birmingham
  • Region: West Midlands
  • Start date: January 2015
  • End Date: December 2015
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Fight for Sight Clinical Fellow Dr Robert Barry is leading this project to tell the difference between two different causes of ‘granulomatous uveitis’ - a distinct pattern of inflammation in the eye. One possible cause is sarcoidosis, a condition that can cause inflammation in any organ in the body. Sarcoidosis of the eye is often diagnosed when there is little inflammation elsewhere. However, the culprit could in fact be common variable immune deficiency (CVID) even though it's much more rare. CVID is a disorder that affects the body's defence system. People with CVID will have repeated infections.

Dr Barry and his team believe that many patients with CVID are wrongly diagnosed as having sarcoidosis, while many patients with CVID may have unrecognised uveitis. There are no specific tests for either condition but we can tell them apart by checking blood levels of molecules produced by the immune system in reponse to infection (antibodies). It's important that patients get the right diagnosis, as since the two conditions need to be treated differently.

So in this project the team is testing three groups of patients, some who have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, some who have granulomatous uveitis with no known cause and some who have a diagnosis of CVID but no known uveitis. If we can spot undiagnosed uveitis in patients with known CVID, we can start treatment earlier and help prevent future sight loss.