Severe ocular involvement in disseminated intravascular coagulation complicating meningococcaemia

  • Karinya Lewis
  • Edward N. HerbertEmail author
  • Tom H. Williamson
Case Report



Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is characterized by inappropriate widespread activation of coagulation leading to extensive microvascular thrombosis and haemorrhage. Ocular involvement typically manifests as fibrin–platelet clots in the choroidal vessels of the posterior pole with overlying serous retinal detachment and sparing of the retinal vessels.


Case report.


An 18-year-old female with meningococcal septicaemia and DIC developed bilateral dense vitreous haemorrhage. At vitrectomy multiple areas of sub-internal limiting membrane haemorrhage were evacuated and silicone oil injected. The patient developed bilateral large macular holes with inferior tractional retinal detachment. Two years later, final visual acuity was 6/36 OD and count fingers OS.


Ocular involvement in DIC can be more extensive than choroidal vascular occlusion alone. Previous reports suggest that DIC associated with sepsis (especially meningococcaemia) may present with more severe manifestations. This may be due to sub-clinical endophthalmitis or haemorrhagic ischemia. Visual prognosis can be poor.


Meningococcaemia Disseminated intravascular coagulation Retinal detachment Vitreous haemorrhage 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karinya Lewis
    • 1
  • Edward N. Herbert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom H. Williamson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologySt Thomas’ HospitalLondonUK

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