Can Anemia Impact the Eyes

Anemia is a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. This leads to reduced oxygen to the body’s organs including the eyes.

Anemia can affect the eyes, especially the retina or the inside of the eye which captures images and sends those to the brain. Sometimes anemia can cause bleeding in the eyes and loss of vision.

Certain types of anemia can cause specific changes in the eye.
• Swelling of the retina
• Damage to the optic nerve
• Blockage of the artery and veins that serve the retina

Different types of Anemia will cause specific changes in the eye

• Sickle cell anemia- Blood cells that change shape, or “sickle,” can get trapped in blood vessels, blocking the blood flow. When this blockage occurs in the small blood vessels in the inner lining of the eyes, it can cause vision problems resulting in abnormal blood vessel growth and thinning of the retina.
• Iron deficiency Anemia-In moderate or severe cases of iron deficiency anemia, the inside layer of the lower eyelid is very pale pink or yellow instead of red.
• Vitamin B12 Deficiency-It mostly results in progressive, bilateral, painless loss of vision associated with abnormal color vision and central scotomas.
• Thalassemia-Ocular changes and complications could vary significantly among patients with β-thalassemia. There are various symptoms described; ocular manifestations range from completely asymptomatic to decreased visual acuity, visual field defects, color vision anomalies, cataracts, nyctalopia, retinopathy, and optic neuropathy.
• Hemolytic Anemia-It can cause complications in the retina and yellowing of the whites of the eye. Hemolytic anemia – This blood disorder causes red blood cells to be destroyed faster than they are made.




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