Visual loss due to Wernicke syndrome following gastric bypass

Reid Longmuir, Andrew G. Lee, Jacinthe Rouleau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report a case of Wernicke encephalopathy after gastric bypass surgery resulting in vision loss, ophthalmoplegia, and ataxia, all of which reversed with a single dose of IV thiamine. Methods: Observational case report. Results: A 34-year-old woman presented with decreased vision and intermittent diplopia after gastric bypass surgery. She was found to have bilateral limitation of horizontal gaze, decreased vision with bilateral central scotoma and mild disc edema OU. Her cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was normal. A presumptive diagnosis of Wernicke encephalopathy was made. The patient was admitted, and a single dose of IV thiamine reversed the ophthalmoplegia and vision loss within 24 hours. Conclusion: Wernicke encephalopathy should be considered in patients with vision loss after gastric bypass surgery. The classic triad of confusion, ataxia, and ophthalmoplegia may not be present and, although uncommon, the findings of optic disc edema and vision loss should not deter the clinician from making the diagnosis. Replacement thiamine if given promptly may rapidly reverse the findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Thiamine
  • Visual loss
  • Wernicke encephalopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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