Evolution of Leukemic Retinal Hemorrhages Documented by Spectral-Domain OCT and Color Fundus Photography

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Purpose: Retinal hemorrhages are observed frequently in patients with leukemia. However, little is known about the impact and natural history of these hemorrhages. The purpose of this study was to describe leukemic retinal hemorrhages using multimodal imaging and to monitor their evolution longitudinally. Design: Retrospective case series. Participants: A total of 11 eyes of 7 symptomatic leukemic patients with posterior segment hemorrhages. Methods: Single-center study performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Symptomatic leukemic patients with posterior segment hemorrhages underwent serial dilated fundus examinations. The hemorrhages were documented longitudinally with color fundus photographs and spectral-domain (SD) OCT. Main Outcomes Measures: Microanatomic locations of leukemic retinal hemorrhages and their impact on vision and evolution over time. Results: A total of 7 patients (71.4% men; 57.1% white, 28.6% black, and 14.3% Hispanic) were included, with 11 eyes showing posterior segment hemorrhages. The median age at presentation was 49.8 years. All patients had intraretinal hemorrhages; these involved the vitreous and sub–internal limiting membrane (ILM) space in 1 and 3 patients, respectively. The median total follow-up duration was 4.0 months. At the final follow-up visits, 4 of 6 patients showed complete resolution of hemorrhages on examination and color fundus photographs. The final SD-OCT images of all patients did not show any retinal thinning, disruption of the ellipsoid zone, disorganization of the retinal layers, intraretinal fluid, or subretinal fluid. Conclusions: Symptomatic leukemic retinal hemorrhages are associated with anemia and thrombocytopenia. These hemorrhages, including visually significant central sub-ILM hemorrhages, tend to be self-limiting and resolve within a few months with treatment of the underlying disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalOphthalmology Retina
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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