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Subretinal Abscess Causing Restricted Diffusion on Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Peeler, Crandall MD; Parmar, Hemant MD; Trobe, Jonathan D. MD

doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e318294314c
Original Contribution

Background: Restricted diffusion of water molecules on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging most commonly associated with acute stroke, has also been described in brain abscess. It has been reported in only one case of sub-retinal abscess.

Methods: Review of two cases.

Results: Two cases of visual loss from subretinal abscess had restricted diffusion in the region of the abscess. In the first case, DWI revealed restricted diffusion in a white mass visible in the posterior retina. In the second case, restricted diffusion was present in an anterior retinal mass invisible by ophthalmoscopy and ultrasound. In combination of restricted diffusion in the cerebrum consistent with septic emboli, these imaging abnormalities allowed earlier treatment that either preserved vision or prevented enucleation.

Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Kellogg Eye Center (CP, JDT), Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology (HP), and Neurology (JDT), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Address correspondence to Jonathan D. Trobe, MD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Kellogg Eye Center, 1000 Wall Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; E-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society