Incipient Syphilitic Papillitis

John J. Chen, M. Tariq Bhatti, Elizabeth Bradley, James Garrity, Matthew J. Thurtell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Patients with syphilis can present with optic disc oedema (ODE) without visual compromise, which has been primarily attributed to papilloedema from raised intracranial pressure or optic perineuritis from optic nerve sheath inflammation. We report four cases of ODE in the setting of syphilis with preserved visual function, normal intracranial pressure, and no enhancement of the optic nerve or sheath on magnetic resonance imaging. We propose the term “incipient syphilitic papillitis” for cases presenting with ODE, preserved vision and absence of optic nerve sheath enhancement, which is likely a more common presentation than syphilitic optic perineuritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Syphilis
  • optic perineuritis
  • papillitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Clinical Neurology


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