In a rare symptom of dengue, a 20-year-old in the capital developed “ophthalmic complications” due to which she complained of a “drop in vision”. Typical symptoms of dengue range from sore throat, cough, joint pain and rashes. Sir Gangaram Hospital reported the rare case, where the woman, who went to the eye OPD, complained of “sudden blurring of vision in the left eye”. Doctors eventually discovered that the drop in vision was due to “inflammation of blood vessels in the retina”, caused as a result of dengue fever. The woman had earlier tested positive for the vector-borne disease.
“The patient tested positive for dengue and had fever for the past eight days. She did not have any rashes on her body, or any other systemic manifestation. However, one day she complained of a sudden blurring of vision in the left eye. When we tested, we found inflammation of blood vessels in the retina. This is a rare occular manifestation of dengue fever,” said Dr S N Jha, senior consultant, department of ophthalmology, Sir Gangaram Hospital.Dr Jha said dengue fever usually results in “inflammation of blood vessels”, but in this particular case, the retina was involved.
“In dengue, there is inflammation all over the body, including blood vessels. In this unusual case, there was inflammation of blood vessels in the retina. This leads to leakage of fluid around the area near the retina. Due to this, the function of retina is compromised. In this case, fluid started leaking and collected near the retina, due to which her vision dropped significantly,” Dr Jha said. The doctor pointed out that it is important to recognise ophthalmic complications manifested due to dengue.
“It manifests in many ways and only the symptoms can be treated. Plus, patients manifest complications in varying degrees. Only through a specialised test could we find that the trigger behind the drop in vision was dengue fever. The patient has responded to steroids and her vision is back to normal. But it is very important to recognise ophthalmic complication manifested due to dengue fever. There have been cases where people have lost the entire eyeball due to such complications,” Dr Jha said. In the present case, tests revealed that “retinal thickening” in the left eye with a “few splinter-shaped haemorrhages at the macula”, an oval-shaped pigmented area near the center of the retina.”The patient was started on oral steroid. On follow-up after five days, the vision improved in the left eye,” the doctor said.