Elschnig’s spots in the acute and remission stages in preeclampsia: spectral-domain optical coherence tomographic features

Eur J Ophthalmol 2015; 25(5)

Article Type: CASE REPORT

Article Subject: Retina MED



AlTalbishi, Ala’a Khateb, Samer Amer, Radgonde



Preeclampsia is a multisystem disorder defined as new onset of hypertension and proteinuria during the second half of pregnancy. Serous retinal detachment (SRD) is a known complication of preeclampsia caused by choroidal ischemia and subsequent disruption of blood-retinal barrier. Poor perfusion of the choriocapillaris causes Elschnig’s spots. We aim to describe distinctive optical coherence tomography (OCT) features of a cluster of Elschnig’s spots in a patient with severe preeclampsia during the acute and remission stages. We also present a summary of OCT features of preeclampsia patients with SRD.


Descriptive case report.


V-shaped adhesions were observed at the location of each of the Elschnig’s spots, the center of which showed disruption of the outer retinal bands (external limiting membrane, inner segment/outer segment junction layer), and the V-shaped outer parts remained tethered to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-Bruch’s complex by hyperreflective exudate on the surface of RPE. These features parallel the histopathologic features described earlier. In an experimental model, Elschnig’s spots showed a gradient of RPE damage from the center to the periphery, where RPE was necrotic in the center and edematous in the periphery. Three months later, spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT) showed focal RPE elevations at the location of each of the Elschnig’s spots.


We illustrate the distinctive SD-OCT features of a cluster of Elschnig’s spots in the acute and chronic stages of preeclampsia and demonstrate the correlation with the previously described histopathologic features. Despite the favorable visual outcome, irreversible tissue damage may occur, necessitating prompt diagnosis and immediate therapeutic intervention.

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest.

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