To describe the natural history of intraocular hemorrhages related to subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) as a result of ruptured intracranial aneurysms.
Retrospective review of patients with cerebral aneurysms examined by a referral neuro-ophthalmology service between 1980 and 1998. Patients with intraocular hemorrhages associated with SAH as a result of ruptured aneurysms were followed up without vitrectomy, unless bilateral vitreous hemorrhage occurred.
Seventy of 450 patients with cerebral aneurysms had an SAH. Of these, 30 eyes of 19 patients had intraocular hemorrhages. Fourteen eyes had a vitreous hemorrhage; 12 had subhyaloid blood without a vitreous hemorrhage; and four had retinal hemorrhages alone. Two patients died shortly after presentation. Twenty-eight eyes were followed up for a mean of 4.8 years. Initial visual acuity was 20/100 to light perception in eyes with a vitreous hemorrhage, 20/20 to 20/400 in eyes with subhyaloid blood, and 20/20 to 20/40 in eyes with retinal hemorrhages. Three of the 12 eyes with a vitreous hemorrhage underwent vitrectomy. Of the nonoperated eyes, final visual acuity was at least 20/30 in 19 (76%) eyes, 20/40 to 20/60 in four (16%) eyes, and 20/100 in both eyes of one patient with premacular subhyaloid blood. None of the nonoperated eyes developed cataract formation or progression, retinal tears, or retinal detachment. Epiretinal membrane developed in one eye and pigmentary maculopathy developed in five.
Except for patients with bilateral vitreous hemorrhages, early vitrectomy may not be necessary in most cases of intraocular hemorrhages associated with nontraumatic SAH.