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Open Access Case report

Deferoxamine retinopathy: spectral domain-optical coherence tomography findings

Cheng-Hsiu Wu1, Chao-Ping Yang23, Chi-Chun Lai13, Wei-Chi Wu13 and Yi-Hsing Chen13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, No. 5, Fu-Hsing Street, Kweishan, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan

2 Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan

3 College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

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BMC Ophthalmology 2014, 14:88  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-14-88

Published: 2 July 2014



To describe the spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) findings of a patient who developed pigmentary retinopathy following high-dose deferoxamine administration.

Case presentation

A 34-year-old man with thalassemia major complained of nyctalopia and decreased vision following high-dose intravenous deferoxamine to treat systemic iron overload. Fundus examination revealed multiple discrete hypo-pigmented lesions at the posterior pole and mid-peripheral retina. Recovery was partial following cessation of desferrioxamine six weeks later. A follow-up SD-OCT showed multiple accumulated hyper-reflective deposits primarily in the choroid, retina pigment epithelium (RPE), and inner segment and outer segment (IS/OS) junction.


Deferoxamine retinopathy primarily targets the RPE–Bruch membrane–photoreceptor complex, extending from the peri-fovea to the peripheral retina with foveola sparing. An SD-OCT examination can serve as a simple, noninvasive tool for early detection and long-term follow-up.

Spectral domain optical coherence tomography; Deferoxamine; Retinopathy