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Acute cortical blindness caused by neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus
  1. Alex Kaimin Wong1,
  2. David Gordon Darby2,3 and
  3. Christopher Fong4,5
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Neurosciences, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Eastern Neurosciences, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Department of Rheumatology, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5Eastern Clinical Research Unit, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex Kaimin Wong; alex.wong2{at}


A man in his 30s, who presented with fevers and a diffuse purpuric rash, developed sudden-onset visual loss on day 2. He was unable to perceive light in either eye. Examination by a neurologist confirmed cortical blindness, and the MRI showed subtle juxtacortical infarcts and leptomeningeal enhancement in the occipital region. Further history taken in the patient’s native language revealed a history of untreated systemic lupus erythematosus. A diagnosis of central nervous system lupus was made and he was treated promptly with pulse methylprednisolone and cyclophosphamide. His vision gradually improved to 80% on day 10 and eventually returned to baseline. He continued with high-dose prednisolone and monthly cyclophosphamide for 6 months and remained on hydroxychloroquine and mycophenolate mofetil with no relapses. This case shows the importance of approaching the uncommon but potentially dangerous issue of acute visual loss with a broad differential.

  • Neuroophthalmology
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

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  • Contributors AKW: involved in initial care of patient, reviewed literature, acquired and interpreted data, edited images and figures, and contributed to the planning, conceptualisation, write up and revision of the manuscript. DGD: diagnosed cortical blindness, interpreted MRI images and revised manuscript. CF: involved in initial and long-term management of patient, reviewed literature, interpreted data, provided guidance on discussion and learning points, and revised the manuscript. The final version of this article was reviewed and approved by all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.