25-year-old suddenly loses vision following birth

A patient whose vision deteriorated to counting fingers six hours after an uncomplicated birth was found to be suffering from valsalva retinopathy


BMJ Case Reports authors have described how a patient’s vision deteriorated six hours after an uncomplicated labour.

The 25-year-old patient was referred to the ophthalmology department where clinicians determined that her vision was limited to counting fingers close to her face in both eyes.

A fundus examination revealed bilateral vitreous haemorrhage with subhyaloid haemorrhage in the right eye.

The patient was diagnosed with valsalva retinopathy. A pars plana vitrectomy was performed in the left eye and in the right eye three months later.

At a follow-up visit, the patient’s Snellen visual acuity was 20/40 in the left eye and 20/50 in the right eye.

The authors explain that valsalva retinopathy can occur soon after a forceful exhalation with closed glottis due to a sudden increase in intrathoracic and intra-abdominal pressure.

The condition has been linked to a variety of activities including constipation, pregnancy, sneezing, weightlifting and sex.