Background: The ocular manifestations of cystic fibrosis typically present with surface irritation or nyctalopia due to Vitamin A deficiency, however, there have been two previous reports of patients with cystic fibrosis that developed retinal vein occlusions. These reports hypothesized that either elevated fibrinogen levels due to chronic infections or elevated homocysteine levels have predisposed patients with cystic fibrosis to develop retinal vein occlusions.
Case presentation: We present a case of a 35-year-old male with cystic fibrosis complicated by chronic sinusitis with no history of organ transplantation or chronic pulmonary infections who presented with an acute branch retinal vein occlusion in his left eye with associated macular edema. Evaluation revealed an elevated fibrinogen level, while the rest of his workup was relatively unremarkable including a normal homocysteine level. His vision remained 20/20 throughout his care and he did not require treatment of his macular edema.
Conclusions: Patients with cystic fibrosis are at an increased risk of developing retinal vein occlusions likely due to a variety of systemic thrombogenic factors rather than a single risk factor which had been reported previously. Elevated fibrinogen levels in these patients may not be due to chronic infections, but inherent to the cystic fibrosis.
Keywords: Branch retinal vein occlusion; Cystic fibrosis; Fibrinogen; Homocysteine.