Paraneoplastic cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy in primary vitreoretinal lymphoma

Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;158(6):1253-1261.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2014.08.031. Epub 2014 Aug 28.


Purpose: To describe the nature and evolution of paraneoplastic cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy in patients with primary vitreoretinal lymphoma and propose a mechanism for its development and course.

Design: Retrospective, observational case series.

Methods: Three patients presenting with unilateral cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy based on clinical examination, fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography, and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) imaging and ultimately diagnosed with primary vitreoretinal lymphoma and/or primary central nervous system lymphoma were analyzed.

Results: In all 3 patients, cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy appeared with hazy indistinct yellow subretinal material resembling the vitelliform lesions found in acute exudative paraneoplastic polymorphous vitelliform maculopathy, although with less distinct appearance and without intense hyper-autofluorescence. In all 3 patients, cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy was transient, showed spontaneous regression within 3 months, and preceded the diagnosis of lymphoma, suggestive of a paraneoplastic process. The diagnosis of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma and/or primary central nervous system lymphoma was made within 6 months with classic features of new intraretinal or sub-retinal pigment epithelium infiltration of lymphoma in the peripheral retina (n = 2) and hyperintense lesions on brain magnetic resonance imaging (n = 2). With SD OCT imaging, the cloudy vitelliform subretinal lesions appeared as hyperreflective debris above the retinal pigment epithelium band in all 3 eyes, and were associated with an irregularly thickened and rippled retinal pigment epithelium band in 2 eyes. Resolution of the cloudy submacular lesions resulted in outer retinal atrophic changes in all 3 eyes.

Conclusion: Paraneoplastic cloudy vitelliform submaculopathy, a form of lymphoma-associated retinopathy, can precede the diagnosis of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma or primary central nervous system lymphoma and can regress spontaneously, leaving outer retinal abnormalities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optical Imaging
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy / diagnosis*
  • Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy / physiopathology
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*