Study: Some surgery patients face greater risk of waking up blind

Eye abstract image Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A new study identifies eye-opening risks for some surgery patients.

The study by researchers at Northwestern University found that patients with high cholesterol and triglycerides who underwent spinal, cardiac or orthopedic surgeries were at greater risk of waking up blind.

The blindness can occur when a blood clot blocks veins to the retina. One of the study's authors compared it to "a stroke of the eye" and said the vision loss is permanent.

The first-of-its-kind study found blindness occurred in non-ocular surgery at the rate of 1.21 cases per 10,000 hospitalizations.

Researchers said the problem is rare, but it’s worth investigating further.

“If we can understand more details about who gets this and other considerations that may lead to this visual loss, patients could be more informed about the risks before going under the scalpel,” senior study author Dustin French, a professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a news release.

The study was published in the journal Eye.