BACKGROUND Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome is rare in the Netherlands. However, in Asia it is one of the most common causes of panuveitis. The syndrome is characterised by a combination of panuveitis, pleocytosis in cerebral spinal fluid with or without neurological function loss, alopecia and depigmentation of body hair. CASE DESCRIPTION A 40-year-old male with no previous medical history visited the emergency department with unexplained bilateral visual symptoms and optic disc swelling. In addition to the latter, further tests only showed pleocytosis in cerebral spinal fluid. In the months following the initial presentation, vision was restored but the patient developed panuveitis, extensive depigmentation, and loss of body hair. On further investigation, the patient reported having a great-grandfather from Indonesia. CONCLUSION Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome should be considered in patients of Asian descent presenting with panuveitis, alopecia and depigmentation of body hair. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent permanent visual injury.