Purtscher-like retinopathy in a patient with COVID-19 and disseminated intravascular coagulation

Nov. 24, 2021


To describe a unique case of Purtscher-like retinopathy after a severe, complicated COVID-19 course which included development of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).


A 58-year-old male developed blurry vision in the left eye one week after being discharged from the hospital for severe COVID-19 pneumonia and DIC. He had been intubated and ventilated for 5 days. Fundus examination revealed optic nerve hyperemia in the right eye, optic nerve pallor in the left eye, arteriolar attenuation, multiple cotton wool spots and ill-defined areas of retinal whitening in the posterior pole in both eyes. His exam findings were most consistent with Purtscher-like retinopathy in both eyes.

Conclusions and Importance

While several cases of central retinal artery and vein occlusion have been described in COVID-19 patients thus far, there has not been any reported cases of Purtscher-like retinopathy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of Purtscher-like retinopathy in a patient who developed DIC during a severe COVID-19 infection.

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