Life-threatening haematological disorders presenting with opthalmic manifestations

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2004 Oct;32(5):547-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2004.00878.x.


Three cases are reported where life-threatening haematological disorders requiring urgent medical intervention presented initially to the ophthalmologist. Case one, chronic myeloid leukaemia, presented with bilateral leukaemic retinopathy and central retinal vein obstruction due to hyperviscosity. Case two, acute myeloid leukaemia, presented with bilateral haemorrhagic retinopathy. Case three, aplastic anaemia, presented with bilateral retinopathy due to anaemia and thrombocytopaenia resembling bilateral central retinal vein occlusion. In all three cases the presence of simultaneous bilateral retinal vascular involvement and white-centred haemorrhages suggested an underlying haematological disorder and differentiated them from typical retinal venous obstruction. Prompt identification of the underlying haematological disorder allows timely referral for potentially life-saving treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Aplastic / diagnosis*
  • Anemia, Aplastic / drug therapy
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Viscosity
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / diagnosis*


  • Antineoplastic Agents