Ocular manifestations of idiopathic aplastic anemia: retrospective study and literature review

Clin Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr 17:8:777-87. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S62163. eCollection 2014.


Aplastic anemia (AA) is a rare disease with few reports on its ophthalmic manifestations. The ocular findings are described in a retrospective consecutive series of 719 AA Korean patients followed at the Hematology Clinic of The Catholic University of Korea. Out of a total of 719 patients, 269 patients had eye examinations, 156 patients had retinal evaluation, and 37 (23.7%) had retinal findings. These 37 patients had unilateral retinal hemorrhage in seven and bilateral retinal hemorrhage in 30 with mean hemoglobin of 6.6 g/dL (range 2.7-12.6 g/dL) and platelet counts of 18.8×10(9)/L (range 4-157×10(9)/L); central retinal vein occlusion-like picture occurred in nine patients and these had similar rheology to the rest of the subjects; optic disc edema, cotton-wool spots, macular edema, and dry eyes occurred in two, three, five, and three patients, respectively. In this Korean series of 141 subjects with AA, systemic bleeding occurred in 24.8% of subjects, retinal hemorrhage in 37% of subjects, and any bleeding site (eye or elsewhere) occurred in 47.5% of subjects with AA. A literature review (1958-2010) of 200 AA cases revealed retinal hemorrhages in 56%, subhyaloid or vitreous hemorrhage in 9%, peripheral retinal vasculopathy in 5.5%, and cotton-wool spots, Sjögren's syndrome, or optic disc edema in 4% each. The prevalence of retinopathy among series of AA patients varied from 20% to 28.3%, which is consistent with the Korean series of 24.8%. Management of AA patients needs to involve multiple specialties, including hematologists, ophthalmologists, and infectious disease specialists.

Keywords: aplastic anemia; eye; retinal hemorrhage; retinal vasculopathy; retinopathy; thrombocytopenia.

Publication types

  • Review