Purtscher's-like retinopathy after childbirth

Ophthalmology. 1990 Dec;97(12):1654-9. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(90)32365-5.


Severe bilateral visual loss attributable to multiple retinal arteriolar occlusions occurred in four young women within 24 hours after childbirth. In two patients, labor was complicated by preeclampsia requiring cesarean section. One patient was suffering from pancreatitis. None had connective tissue disease or antecedent trauma. Ophthalmoscopy and fluorescein angiography revealed evidence of multiple superficial peripapillary and macular patches of ischemic retinal whitening simulating Purtscher's retinopathy. By 8 weeks, the white patches were resolving in all eyes and visual acuity had significantly improved in three of the four patients. The pathogenesis of this disorder is unknown but may involve arteriolar obstruction by complement-induced leukoemboli formed during parturition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Eclampsia / complications
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor Complications*
  • Pancreatitis / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology*
  • Visual Acuity