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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2019 Oct-Dec;26(4):205-210. doi: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_50_19.

Ocular manifestations of leukaemia: A teaching hospital experience.

Author information

Department of Ophthalmology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.
Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.



Knowledge of the ophthalmic manifestations of leukaemia is important not only because of the frequency with which changes are seen but because the eye often reflects the disease state of the illness, and once identified, prompt referral, early treatment can be instigated, blindness can be averted and a life may be saved. These manifestations are often overlooked because of the underestimation of the magnitude of the ocular sequelae which may be blinding.


This study aims to describe the ophthalmic findings in adult leukaemic patients at two teaching hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria.

Patients and Methods:

This was a clinic-based, comparison multicentre study conducted at Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital over a 9-month period of May 2012-January 2013. The cases were newly diagnosed leukaemic patients (acute and chronic) from the haematology clinics. Controls were escorts of apparently normal patients. Detailed ocular examination was carried out after written informed consent was obtained. Analysis was done using SPSS 17.


A total of 160 eyes in 80 individuals examined comprised forty cases and forty controls. The results of the cases were compared with the age- and sex-matched controls. Leukaemic-related ophthalmic manifestations were present in 56 eyes (70.0%) of the cases studied. Findings in cases were periorbital oedema in 8 eyes (10%), subconjunctival haemorrhage in four eyes (5%), intraretinal haemorrhage as found in 25 eyes (31.3%), retinal venous tortuosity in 21 eyes (26.3%), Roth spots in 19 eyes (23.8%) and retinal infiltrates in 17 eyes (21.3%).


Ophthalmic disorders occur in adult patients living with leukaemia. Prompt initial and periodic ophthalmic evaluation is recommended in all leukaemic patients.


Adult patients; blindness; leukaemia; ophthalmic manifestations

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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