Ophthalmic manifestations of leukemia

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2016 Nov;27(6):545-551. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000309.


Purpose of review: This article aims to describe the ocular manifestations of leukemia, resulting both from direct infiltration of neoplastic cells and from the more common secondary effects of leukemia and its treatment. The prevalence of these findings is also discussed, along with their clinical significance, association with hematologic markers and the ophthalmologist's role caring for these patients.

Recent findings: Recent studies have included a large case series examining the prevalence of ocular manifestations in newly diagnosed leukemic patients as well as case reports of ocular manifestations of leukemia.

Summary: Patients with leukemia often have ocular manifestations. These occur either from direct infiltration of neoplastic cells or from indirect or secondary causes, including hematologic abnormalities, central nervous system involvement, opportunistic infections, or from treatment. Although nearly all ocular structures can be affected, leukemic retinopathy is often the most clinically apparent manifestation. Awareness of the ophthalmic manifestations of leukemia is important as they may precede systemic diagnosis or may be a sign of leukemia recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Eye / pathology
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / complications*
  • Leukemia / therapy
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Physician's Role*
  • Prevalence
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents