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November 1948


Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology, Veterans Administration Facility, Woods, Wis., and Marquette University School of Medicine.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1948;40(5):570-573. doi:10.1001/archopht.1948.00900030583009

LIPEMIA retinalis was first described by Heyl1 in 1880. The condition is known to occur in cases of hyperlipemia when the fat in the blood is sufficiently emulsified to become visible in the retinal vessels. The hyperlipemia that is associated at times with alcoholism, phosphorus poisoning, pneumonia, peritonitis and starvation has never been known to become ophthalmoscopically visible. Duke-Elder2 underlined the statement that "diabetes is the only disease wherein the condition becomes sufficiently marked to be seen ophthalmoscopically in the retinal vessels." Duke-Elder also noted the one exception to this, the case reported by Wagener,3 in 1922, of a 9 year old boy with leukemia who had undergone radiation treatment. Since its first description, in 1880, about 60 cases of lipemia retinalis have been reported in the literature, and it is noteworthy that all these have been of diabetic patients, usually in the younger age groups. Since

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