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Asymptomatic persistent corneal endothelial deposits associated with previous rifabutin use

Poster Details

First Author: J.Gong UK

Co Author(s):    J. Welch                    

Abstract Details


To report a case of asymptomatic corneal endothelial deposits in a patient previously treated with rifabutin for Crohn's disease.


Ophthalmology Department, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK.


We reviewed the available case notes, anterior segment photographs and specular microscopy of a patient with asymptomatic corneal endothelial deposits, who had previously been on Rifabutin. We also performed a literature search for relevant case reports on Pubmed, using the keywords ‘rifabutin’ and ‘cornea’.


A 47-year-old man with known Crohn’s disease was referred after a routine sight test. Examination revealed unusual bilateral corneal changes, consisting of scattered central and peripheral yellow-coloured stellate endothelial deposits. Unaided visual acuity was 6/6 in his right eye and 6/4 in his left eye. On questioning, he reported being previously treated with Rifabutin over 20 years ago. We identified five published case reports of rifabutin and corneal endothelial deposits in patients without Human Immunodeficiency Virus; two were reported in patients with Crohn’s disease. At diagnosis, one patient was on rifabutin; the other stopped it six years earlier.


Rifabutin has been reported to be linked with bilateral asymptomatic but irreversible yellow-brown corneal endothelial deposits. These are usually located peripherally, but were also located centrally in our patient. Our case report adds to the existing body of knowledge that associates rifabutin with corneal endothelial changes.

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