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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

21 Jun 2018 by Selina Powell

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. 


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