Cryoglobulinemia, a condition in which a protein or group of proteins in the blood precipitate on exposure to cold, may be associated with retinal vascular changes. This paper reviews the present knowledge of cryoglobulinemia and presents the eye findings which were present in one of three patients with cryoglobulinemia seen at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia.
In 1933, Wintrobe and Buell described a cold-precipitable globulin. Others repeated this observation, but not until 1947 was the term cryoglobulin used.4,7,13,16,22,49 Lerner and Watson, in 1947, while studying the blood serums of 121 patients suffering from various diseases, found that there was a spontaneous precipitation of protein in 31 cases when the serum was cooled to 4 C.6 They proposed the term cryoglobulin to describe the protein or group of proteins which have the characteristic of precipitation, or "gelifying," in the cold. The precipitated protein, which they regarded as a
ELLIS RA. Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Associated with Cryoglobulinemia. AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1957;57(3):327-334. doi:10.1001/archopht.1957.00930050337002