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Obstet Gynecol. 2012 May;119(5):959-66. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31824da5a8.

Long-term visual functioning after eclampsia.

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  • 1School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Radiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Complete neurocognitive recovery after eclampsia has been questioned with the expression of neurocognitive deficits by affected women and demonstration of cerebral white matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging years after eclampsia. We hypothesized that formerly eclamptic women may experience impaired vision-related quality of life (QOL) and visual field loss as a result of the presence of such lesions in the cerebral visual areas.


Using the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-39/Nederlands questionnaire, vision-related QOL was compared between formerly eclamptic women and control participants after normotensive pregnancies. Furthermore, in formerly eclamptic women, visual fields were assessed using automated perimetry, and presence of white matter lesions was evaluated using cerebral magnetic resonance imaging. Presence of a relationship between these lesions and National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-39/Nederlands scores was estimated.


Forty-seven formerly eclamptic women and 47 control participants participated 10.1±5.2 and 11.5±7.8 years after their index pregnancy, respectively. Composite scores and 4 out of 12 National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-39/Nederlands subscale scores were significantly lower in formerly eclamptic women than in control participants (P<.01 for composite scores). This could not be explained by visual field loss, because all formerly eclamptic women who underwent perimetry (n=43) demonstrated intact visual fields. White matter lesions were present in 35.7% of formerly eclamptic women who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (n=42) and were associated with lower vision-related QOL scores (P<.05 for composite scores).


Formerly eclamptic women express lower vision-related QOL than control participants, which seemed at least partly related to the presence of white matter lesions. However, such women do not have unconscious visual field loss. Vision-related QOL impairment expressed by formerly eclamptic women may therefore be related to problems with higher-order visual functions.



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