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Leukemia: Retinal Hemorrhages

Retinal hemorrhages

Retinal hemorrhages
Retinal hemorrhages are the commonest ophthalmic manifestation of acute leukemia. The degree of thrombocytopenia and the degree of leukocytosis are directly related to the prevalence of retinal hemorrhages.

Why do the hemorrhages occur? Thrombocytopenia impairs coagulation; leukocytosis impairs flow and may render the vessel walls ischemic.

To check out the common ophthalmic manifestations of the various rheumatic (connective tissue) diseases, click here.

What to do?
Retinal hemorrhages—even a single retinal hemorrhage—are never a normal finding except in hypertension. They should always prompt investigation of a coagulopathy.

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