A 23-year-old woman suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever - a critical condition of the mosquito-borne disease - has lost her eyesight in Gurgaon.
She was first admitted to a local hospital with high fever and a low platelet count of about 7,000.
After she complained of blurred vision, she was taken to Park Hospital in Southcity Phase 2 on October 20. She was shifted to New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Friday as her condition had not improved.
"She developed high fever on October 15 and on October 18 she was admitted to the hospital, where she was tested positive for dengue," said her brother Udayraj Singh.
Doctors at Park said her eyes became red and were bulging out.
"We spotted bleeding behind and inside the white portion of her eyes. She can perceive very less light and has almost lost her entire vision," said Dr VS Bhalla, medical superintendent of Park hospital.
Although her platelet count is on the rise and her fever is subsiding, ophthalmologists at the hospital say her chances of getting back her eyesight are very slim.
The condition is called panophthalmitis, inflammation in the eye caused by the virus. The iris appears muddy and gray and there may be a probable need to remove the eye if the surrounding tissues are infected.
"We will do whatever it takes to get her vision back. My sister is just 23 years old," said the brother.
Eye specialists say though a dengue patient can bleed from anywhere inside the body, cases of eye bleeding are rare.
"It is not a common condition. If it's plain bleeding, then the eyesight can be restored. But if there's macular bleeding or bleeding in certain sensitive areas within the eye, then chances of vision being restored are less," said Dr JS Titiyal, professor, department of ophthalmology, AIIMS.
In critical cases, bleeding can happen through the brain, intestine, stomach, gums etc.
"There isn't much that can be done once bleeding starts except for transfusing platelets and clotting factors," said Dr RK Singal, chairman, department of internal medicine, BLK hospital.
A 45-year-old woman was moved to the ward from the intensive care unit at BLK on Friday after her internal bleeding stopped following a blood transfusion.
Though the woman though had gone to the hospital during the early stages of the disease, her condition worsened and she started bleeding through the intestine. Though the number of dengue cases in Delhi reached 835, doctors claim the infection has not been severe this season. "There has been lesser number of people needing platelet transfusion as compared to previous years," said a senior doctor from AIIMS.