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Permanent Blindness as a Complication of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

Moseman, Cher P. MC, USAF; Shelton, Stuart MC, USA

Case Reports

BACKGROUND Visual disturbances are common symptoms of preeclampsia, but blindness remains a rare phenomenon.

CASE A 21-year-old secundagravida was admitted at 354/7 weeks' gestation with a diagnosis of preeclampsia. She labored on her second hospital day and underwent a cesarean delivery for nonreassuring fetal status. On postoperative day 1, she reported blurring of her vision that progressed rapidly to complete vision loss. Ophthalmological examination revealed ischemic retinal changes bilaterally; radiographic examination showed lesions in the lateral geniculate bodies, consistent with infarcts, as the possible etiologies of her blindness. Five months later, the patient has not regained her sight and remains legally blind.

CONCLUSION Complete amaurosis is a rare complication of pregnancy demanding immediate ophthalmological and neurological evaluation as well as radiographic studies of the brain.

Blindness associated with pregnancy-induced hypertension may be secondary to numerous etiologies.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Darnall Army Community Hospital, Fort Hood, Texas

Address reprint requests to: Cher P. Moseman, MD, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1100 Bergquist Drive, Suite 1, Lackland AFB, TX 78236.

The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army, Air Force, or the Department of Defense.

Received April 15, 2002. Received in revised form June 8, 2002. Accepted June 19, 2002.

© 2002 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.