Bilateral Optic Disc Edema in a Patient with Lead Poisoning


Purpose: Heavy metals, such as lead can cause optic neuropathy. Optic disc neuropathy due to lead intoxication has previously been reported. We report a rare case of lead toxicity-induced optic neuropathy presenting with bilateral hemorrhagic optic disc swelling.

Case Report: The patient was a 42-year-old man with a history of chronic oral opium use, who had a gradually progressing blurred vision in both eyes over 40 days, with ataxia, paresthesia, and a toxic level of serum lead. He had been treated with lead chelators for lead poisoning. His color vision was impaired in both eyes. Humphrey’s visual field test revealed double arcuate scotoma with enlargement of the blind spot. Funduscopy revealed bilateral optic disc swelling, which was confirmed on optical coherence tomography and fluorescein angiography.

Conclusion: In cases of optic disc edema, a comprehensive history should be taken to detect the cause. Further, in cases of chronic oral opium use, lead toxicity should be considered.


Lead Poisoning, Opium Dependence, Optic Disc Edema, Paresthesia

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