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Woman suffers vision loss after developing severe iron deficiency during lockdown

A 23-year-old patient whose diet changed during lockdown experienced temporary vision loss in her left eye

chips and sauces
Pixabay/Jason Goh

A Singaporean woman whose diet changed dramatically during lockdown temporarily lost vision in her left eye after developing severe iron-deficiency.

BMJ Case Reports authors highlighted that the 23-year-old patient developed central retinal vein occlusion and amenorrhea after she became severely anaemic.

The iron-deficiency was attributed to a “drastic” change in her dietary habits following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Clinicians described how before the pandemic, the patient would regularly eat mutton or steaks while out at restaurants.

Following lockdown, her diet consisted mostly of potato-based foods and biscuits. She ate vegetables for her main meal and dried fruit for snacks.

An eye examination revealed a best corrected visual acuity of counting fingers in her left eye and 6/6 in her right eye.

A fundus examination of the left eye revealed papilledema, intra-retinal haemorrhages, cotton wool spots and cystoid macular oedema.

After the patient was found to be severely iron deficient, she received a red blood cell transfusion and intravenous iron supplementation.

This was followed by twice daily oral iron supplementation for two months.

The patient’s vision had improved to a BCVA of 6/15 in her left eye one month after treatment.