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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I have very slow-moving scleroderma mostly inside - only one

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I have very slow-moving scleroderma mostly inside - only one section of skin involved. It is now affecting my left eye. The gel-pack (not the right term, I'm sure, but descriptive) is coming, and I have both floaters and blood in my vision. My retinal specialist is watching carefully, but I need to know and forgot to ask what comes with progression of this condition. The gel is still coming off. Does this affect the retina? Is it likely or possible that this eye may go blind?
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Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question. I understand you are probably quite concerned and apprehensive about what complications could be happening to your eyes from scleroderma. As it sounds from your description, you are likely having a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). This is where parts of the jelly (vitreous) that are attached to the retina in the back of the eye begin to pull free from their attachments to the retina and those parts float in the remaining body of vitreous jelly. These PVDs in and of themselves are usually inocuous. However, uncommonly these PVDs can cause ruptures of blood vessels, producing a hemorrhage into the vitreous body of jelly. In addition, these PVDs can also cause a break/hole/tear to occur in the retina; this is also very uncommon. If this were to happen the retina could get lifted off the back of the eye causing a retinal detachment which can be permanently blinding if not attended to ASAP. You may be able to detect this happening by noticing one or more of four different symptoms: 1. sudden increase in floaters, 2. flashing or arcing lights that are persistent and not going away (not a few intermittent ones), 3. a shade/shadow/spot in your vision that you can't see light through, or 4. a large drop in your vision which doesn't improve after a few minutes. For any of these symptoms you must see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. But again this is very uncommon to rare. Unfortunately, when there is blood in the vitreous from this process, the likelihood that a hole is made in the retina is increased, so as you are aware of, this does require careful monitoring.

Doctor DanB :

As far as the involvement in the eye of scleroderma, I do not suspect that this problem you are currently having is related to your scleroderma. The large majority of eye complications that occur in scleroderma have an effect on the front of the eye, causing shrinking of tissues, dry eyes, tearing, sensitivity to light and other problems. There are no complications that are seen with any degree of regularity in scleroderma that affect the back of the eye such as the problems you are experiencing. Does this help address your concerns?

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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must be examined by your doctor.


Thank you so much. I appreciate your answer, and it sounds true, though I do suspect that it is connected to scleroderma. Very strange things have happened to me because of it. As one friend-doctor said, "You have a very wierd body." I did wonder what the future held, and this helps a lot. I only fear the unknown, not the known.

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