A rare occurrence – woman loses eye to dengue

Dengue affecting vision is called panophthalmitis, inflammation in the eye caused by the virus

A 32-year-old woman suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever – a critical condition of the mosquito-borne disease – has lost her eyesight. She was first admitted to a local hospital in Vashi with high fever and a low platelet count of about 19,000.

“She was admitted to a local hospital for dengue. On October 19, she complained of blurred vision and transferred to our hospital as they didn’t have an eye specialist,” said Dr Harshvardhan Ghorpade, eye surgeon at Fortis hospital.

He said within three hours of her complaining about blurred vision, her condition deteriorated. “She had redness in her right eye. She had complaints of immense pain. Within hours, she had a complete loss of vision. The pressure in the eye too was high,” said Ghorpade.
dengue-1While the doctors thought of operating on her to reduce the inflammation and eye pressure and save the vision, Ghorpade said that she was physically unfit for the surgery. “We had to manage the inflammation of the eye and eye pressure with medicines. There was inflammation of the optic nerves and retina along with the increased eye pressure that led to complete loss of vision,” said Ghorpade.

The Navi Mumbai resident is now recuperating in the intensive care unit of the hospital. “We have managed to salvage her eye balls though for cosmetic look. Although her platelet count is on the rise and her fever is subsiding, her chances of getting back her eyesight are very slim,” added Ghorpade.

Doctors say dengue affecting vision is called panophthalmitis, inflammation in the eye caused by the virus.

“The iris appears muddy and grey and there may be a probable need to remove the eye if the surrounding tissues are infected. A dengue patient can bleed from anywhere inside the body, cases of eye bleeding are rare. Early detection and early treatment means no blindness,” said Dr Sunil Morekar, eye surgeon at Nanavati Super speciality hospital.