Fundus Findings in Wernicke Encephalopathy

Tal Serlin, Elad Moisseiev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) is an acute neuropsychiatric syndrome resulting from thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency, classically characterized by the triad of ophthalmoplegia, confusion, and ataxia. While commonly associated with chronic alcoholism, WE may also occur in the setting of poor nutrition or absorption. We present a 37-year-old woman who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and presented with visual disturbance with bilateral horizontal nystagmus, confusion, and postural imbalance. Fundus examination revealed bilateral optic disc edema with a retinal hemorrhage in the left eye. Metabolic workup demonstrated thiamine deficiency. Her symptoms resolved after thiamine treatment. This case raises the awareness of the possibility of posterior segment findings in WE, which are underreported in WE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-409
Number of pages4
JournalCase Reports in Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 8 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Fundus
  • Optic disc edema
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Wernicke encephalopathy


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