A 32-year-old black woman with pancreatitis developed visual loss in both eyes. On ophthalmoscopic examination she had extensive ischaemic infarcts at the posterior poles of both eyes, a clinical picture which has been reported previously in patients with pancreatitis and noted to be similar to Purtscher's retinopathy. On histopathological examination of the eyes after death there were arteriolar occlusions in both the choroid and retina and inner ischaemic infarctions with inner retinal oedema. Owing to the 23-day interval from arteriolar occlusion until death the exact nature of the original occlusion could not be determined. However, either fat emboli or activated complement C5-induced granulocyte embolus formation are possible causes.
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