For your eyes only”: ophthalmic complications following lung transplantation

Udit Dhal, Shine Raju, Arun D. Singh, Atul C. Mehta


Ophthalmic complications in the lung transplant population are a little-known entity. It includes a spectrum of diseases ranging from infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, herpetic keratitis, Pseudallescheria boydii to non-infectious complications such as posterior subcapsular cataracts (PSCs), cyclosporine retinopathy, and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). These diseases can be attributed to high levels of immunosuppression, advanced age, and drug-specific side effects. Underlying comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus may also play a role in the pathogenesis. Patients can present with varied symptoms such as blurry vision, floaters or eye pain. Prompt diagnosis often requires a high index of suspicion. With increasing numbers of transplants being performed worldwide, it is imperative for the pulmonologist and transplant physician to recognize these often subtle symptoms. Any visual symptom should trigger an ophthalmological evaluation in order to manage these complications; some of which pose the risk of systemic dissemination and significant morbidity. The following article provides an in-depth review of the common presenting symptoms, treatments and recent advances related to common ophthalmic complications following lung transplantation. While this article focuses on the lung transplant sub-population, the authors would like to point out that some of these complications are shared by other solid-organ transplants as well, by virtue of their shared immunosuppressive therapies.