Mom with blindness diagnosed with lung cancer

Don’t turn a blind eye to the possibility of lung cancer in patients with vision problems, one doctor warned recently.

A 32-year-old woman from India who never smoked went to the doctor after going blind in one eye. Her lungs were filled with cancerous tumors, despite reporting no pulmonary disturbances, according to a case study published in the Elsevier journal Radiology Case Reports. 

The 32-year-old patient had cancerous tumors in her lungs. Singh et al/ScienceDeirect
The woman went to the hospital for vision problems. Singh et al/ScienceDeirect

“Despite widespread malignant involvement, the patient was completely asymptomatic and active except for visual disturbances,” Dr. Alok Pratap Singh, of the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, writes in the study. 

“This case further emphasized the necessity of prompt and priority-based evaluation of patients for lung carcinoma whenever doubtful intraocular lesions are noted. It seems that these cases represent a distinct subset of lung malignancy,” he adds.

The woman sought attention at a hospital after she lost her vision in her right eye and saw flashing lights, a visual disturbance called photopsia, in her left eye. 

The woman was diagnosed with choroidal metastasis in both of her eyes. Singh et al/ScienceDeirect

Tests revealed that she had lung cancer along with choroidal metastasis in both of her eyes. Choroidal metastasis is a cancer that starts elsewhere in the body but moves into the eyes via the blood, according to the New York Eye Cancer Center. 

The doctor said that visual disturbances should be taken seriously as a potential cancer symptom.

The cancer patient was not publicly identified. Singh et al/ScienceDeirect
The doctor said the patient had no other symptoms of lung cancer. Singh et al/ScienceDeirect

“It should be stressed that visual disturbances owing to choroidal secondaries obligated these patients to seek medical assistance. Since visual input is the most sensitive sensory input, patients are able to notice even slightest of disturbance in vision,” Singh writes in the case study.

“We do not know for how long [the cancer] would have been clinically silent if it [wasn’t] for symptomatic choroidal metastasis,” he adds.

Although it is uncommon to experience blurred vision due to lung cancer, it is more common that blurred vision can be a sign of a brain tumor. Either way — it’s best to see a doctor for such symptoms immediately.