New Mercy Health - Cincinnati Research Shows that Blood Clots in the Eyes Could Indicate Underlying and Potentially Fatal Blood Clotting Disorders

(CINCINNATI; May 7, 2015) – Mercy Health, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood through its care network, warns that patients who develop blood clots in their eyes may be at high risk for losing their vision and developing dangerous and potentially lethal blood clots elsewhere in their bodies.

That’s the conclusion of new research from Charles Glueck, MD, Mercy Health Physician and leader of the Mercy Health – Cholesterol Center, and senior author Samantha Shockman, a first year resident at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health.

Drs. Glueck and Shockman worked with Robert K. Hutchins, MD, a retina and vitreous surgeon with Cincinnati Eye Institute.

“When a patient develops a clot somewhere in the body, most doctors will check for an underlying cause,” says Dr. Glueck. “However, the relationship of retinal vein and artery clots to underlying clotting disorders needs to be on the radar for most ophthalmologists. The aim of this research is to encourage ophthalmologists who see patients with a blood clot in the vein or artery of the eye to look for inherited and acquired clotting disorders, which can have a profound effect on other clotting sites in the body, up to and including death.”

The research found that:
• Patients who develop a blood clot in one eye have a small but real likelihood of ocular thrombosis (blood clot) occurring in the other eye. Blood clots block veins and arteries and when a clot develops in an eye, it can lead to loss of vision as the eye is starved of oxygen.
• Many patients with eye clots – 11% – had the two most serious inherited clotting disorders, Factor V Leiden or the Prothrombin gene mutation, both of which increase a person’s chance for developing blood clots greatly.
• Of these patients, 83% reported their ocular blood clot as the first thrombotic, or clotting, event. This was their first warning that they may have a previously undiagnosed inherited clotting disorder.

“By diagnosing these major inherited clotting disorders as the cause of retinal vein and artery eye clots, the ophthalmologist opens a critical window to the diagnosis and prevention of disease in the patient and his or her family,” says Dr. Glueck. “Patients with these blood clotting disorders should have their first degree relatives screened for the same disorders and those family members with the diseases should undertake preventive therapy to preserve their health.”

All patients with Factor V Leiden or the Prothrombin gene mutation should stop estrogen and testosterone treatment if present, says Dr. Glueck. Hormones can spur tenfold the development of more clots in this population. They should also stop smoking and if they’ve had a blood clot in the eye, initiate specific ocular therapies to save remainder of the vision under the direction of a retinal expert.

Dr. Charles J. Glueck of the Mercy Health - Cholesterol Center, The Jewish Hospital resident Dr. Samantha Shockman and CEI’s Dr. Robert K. Hutchins conducted the study. The medical journal Clinical Ophthalmology published the findings on April 3, 2015.

Dr. Glueck leads and practices from Mercy Health – Cholesterol Center, located at 2135 Dana Ave., Suite 430 in Cincinnati, ZIP 45207. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Glueck, please call 513-924-8250.

To find a Mercy Health physician in your neighborhood, or to learn about the services provided at Mercy Health, please visit or call 513-981-2222.