How Blood Disorders Can Cause Retinopathy?
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Retinopathy Due to Blood Disorders - Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on May 24, 2023 and last reviewed on Nov 20, 2023   -  5 min read

Abstract

Retinopathy is an eye disorder that affects the retina. It can occur due to various blood disorders. Read below to learn about the same.

Introduction:

Retinopathy is a term used to describe a group of eye diseases that affect the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. These diseases can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. There are many different types of retinopathy, and they can be caused by a variety of factors, including blood disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other underlying health conditions.

How Blood Disorders Can Cause Retinopathy?

Blood disorders can cause several different types of retinopathy. It is caused by reduced blood flow to the eyes. Various blood disorders, including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and hemolytic anemia, can cause retinopathy. These disorders can lead to anemia (a low red blood cell count), which can reduce the oxygen and nutrients delivered to the body's tissues and organs, including the eyes. This reduced blood flow can cause damage to the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. Other factors contributing to the development of retinopathy of blood disorders include high blood pressure, diabetes, and other underlying health conditions. It is important to manage these conditions effectively to reduce the risk of developing retinopathy.

What Are the Blood Disorders That Can Cause Retinopathy?

  • Sickle Cell Retinopathy: This condition is caused by sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that affects the production of red blood cells. This condition is characterized by the biconcave shape of red blood cells. It can lead to vision loss, floaters, and redness or swelling of the eye.

  • Thalassemia Retinopathy: This condition is caused by thalassemia, a rare genetic blood disorder that affects the production of hemoglobin. It can lead to vision loss, floaters, and changes in the color or size of the blood vessels in the eye.

  • Hemolytic Anemia Retinopathy: This condition is caused by hemolytic anemia, in which the body destroys red blood cells faster than they can be replaced. It can lead to vision loss, floaters, and changes in the color or size of the blood vessels in the eye.

  • Anemia Retinopathy: This type of retinopathy can be caused by any type of anemia that results in reduced blood flow to the eyes, leading to damage to the retina.

  • Leukemia Retinopathy: This rare type of retinopathy can be caused by leukemia, a type of cancer affecting blood cell production. It can lead to vision loss, floaters, and changes in the color or size of the blood vessels in the eye.

  • Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) Retinopathy: This condition is caused by TTP, a rare blood disorder that results in the formation of blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body. It can lead to vision loss, floaters, and changes in the color or size of the blood vessels in the eye.

What Are the Symptoms of Retinopathy of Blood Disorder?

Retinopathy may cause no symptoms at all, or the symptoms may be so mild that they go unnoticed. If the patient has any concerns about vision or eye health, it is always a good idea to consult with an eye doctor. If a person is experiencing any retinopathy or blood disorder, it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible. Retinopathy can be treated if it is caught early, but if left untreated, it can lead to vision loss. The symptoms include the following:

  • Blurred vision.

  • Difficulty seeing at night.

  • Seeing floaters or spots in the field of vision.

  • Sensitivity to light.

  • Difficulty seeing fine details.

  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes.

  • Double vision.

  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in lighting.

  • Seeing halos around lights.

  • Poor color vision.

  • The vision changes frequently.

  • Difficulty seeing objects at a distance.

  • Eye pain.

  • Redness or swelling in the eye.

  • A sensation of pressure in the eye.

  • Dry eyes.

  • Itching or burning sensation in the eye.

  • Excessive tearing.

  • A feeling of having something in the eye.

How to Diagnose Retinopathy of Blood Disorder?

There are several tests and procedures that may be used to diagnose retinopathy. Some common diagnostic methods include:

  • Blood Test: These tests are done to know the type of blood disorder a person is having.

  • Eye Exam: During an eye exam, an eye doctor will use special instruments and eye drops to examine the back of the eye, including the retina. They may also test the patient’s vision and check for other signs of eye problems.

  • Fundus Photography: This is a type of photography that captures detailed images of the back of the eye. It can be used to identify changes or abnormalities in the retina.

  • Fluorescein Angiography: This is a test that uses a special dye and a camera to take pictures of the blood vessels in the retina. The dye is injected into a vein in the arms and then travels to the blood vessels in the eyes. As the dye passes through the vessels, a camera takes pictures of the retina.

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This is a non-invasive test that uses light waves to create detailed images of the retina. It can be used to identify changes or abnormalities in the layers of the retina.

What Is the Treatment of Retinopathy of Blood Disorder?

Treatment for retinopathy will depend on the type and severity of the condition, as well as other factors such as overall health and medical history. Some common treatment options for retinopathy include:

  • Treatment of Underlying Blood Disorder- It is very important to correct the root cause of retinopathy. Appropriate treatment of underlying blood disorders can cure the condition in the early stage. If the disease progresses further, then treatment includes both the correction of the underlying problem and the treatment of damage that occurs due to retinopathy.

  • Laser Surgery- This procedure uses a laser to seal leaking blood vessels and reduce the risk of further vision loss.

  • Vitrectomy- This is a surgical procedure that removes blood or scar tissue from the eye. It is usually only recommended for severe cases of retinopathy.

  • Injections- Injections of medications such as steroids or anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs can be used to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of retinopathy.

  • Medications- In some cases, medications such as aspirin or other blood thinners may be recommended to reduce the risk of further vision loss.

  • Eye Drops- Eye drops containing medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or vasoconstrictors may be prescribed to reduce swelling or improve blood flow to the retina.

Conclusion:

If a person is experiencing any of the symptoms of retinopathy, it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible. Retinopathy can be treated if it is caught early, but if left untreated, it can lead to vision loss. If a person has any concerns about vision or eye health, it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and recommend the appropriate diagnostic tests if needed. It is important to follow the eye doctor's treatment recommendations and attend follow-up appointments as advised. Early treatment can help prevent vision loss and preserve eyesight.

Last reviewed at:
20 Nov 2023  -  5 min read

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