Intrapapillary and Peripapillary Hemorrhage in Young Patients with Incomplete Posterior Vitreous Detachment: Signs of Vitreopapillary Traction

Barrett Katz, William F. Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Purpose: The authors describe a benign condition characterized by intrapapillary and subretinal peripapillary hemorrhage, incomplete posterior vitreous detachment with persisting attachments to the disc, and preservation of optic nerve function in young patients. Methods: Eight patients 11 to 42 years of age with no or mild symptoms (blur, spot, or smudged were referred for disc hemorrhage; seven of these patients were Asian. All underwent complete ophthalmologic examination, including detailed slit-lamp microscopy; particular attention was paid to vitreous attachments. Results: Superficial hemorrhage occurred predominantly in the superior hemidisc and was often striking in appearance. Subretinal hemorrhage occurred at the superonasal disc margin in six patients and was centered inferonasally in two. Discs were generally small, mildly dysplastic, and tilted; all were mildly elevated. The posterior vitreous body was separated from the retina but remained attached to the disc. Six patients had subtle visual field abnormalities in the involved eye. The hemorrhages resolved without sequelae or impairment of vision. During a 6-month follow-up, no patient progressed to complete vitreous detachment, retinal tear, or retinal detachment or required surgery to release traction. Conclusion: The authors postulate that vitreopapillary traction traumatized disc vessels, causing hemorrhage in and around the disc. The superior hemidisc received the shearing force of detachment, which tore superficial vessels; transmission of the force through the retina caused subretinal bleeding. Posterior vitreous detachment remained incomplete because of tenacious vitreopapillary attachments. Mildly dysplastic discs, as in the young patients with myopia reported here, may have unusual vitreous attachments, predisposing them to the occurrence of and trauma from premature vitreous separation. The condition described is benign and requires no further evaluation or intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-354
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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