Terson's Syndrome in a Patient with von Hippel-Lindau Disease

Optom Vis Sci. 2016 Sep;93(9):1181-6. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000904.


Purpose: Terson's syndrome is a condition where a preretinal hemorrhage forms as a result of increased intracranial pressure. The elevated intracranial pressure is thought to be transmitted through the veins and the optic nerve sheath to the optic disc and retina, causing the thin capillary walls to rupture. The authors present a unique case of Terson's syndrome in a patient who underwent recent surgical management for cerebellar hemangioblastomas related to von Hippel-Lindau disease.

Case report: A 17-year-old African American female patient with a history of von Hippel-Lindau disease presented with pain in her right eye. She had recently undergone surgery to remove cerebellar hemangioblastomas. Preliminary fundus imaging was performed, but before formal ophthalmic testing could be conducted, the patient seized and was taken directly to the emergency room. When the patient returned for a formal evaluation 3 weeks later, a new preretinal "boat-shaped" hemorrhage was now present. Additionally, reports from the emergency room suggested that she had bled into the cavity where the previous cerebellar resection had taken place. This hemorrhage likely led to an increase in intracranial pressure, causing a Terson's-like event.

Conclusions: A Terson's event may be caused by high intracranial pressure secondary to the surgical removal of von Hippel-Lindau syndrome-associated cerebellar tumors and should be included as a possible complication of surgical management.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Syndrome
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease / complications*
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease / physiopathology