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Secret in the eyes – fish eye disease

Secret in the eyes – fish eye disease

In a unique and intriguing case of its kind, a nonobese and nonsmoker patient referred for physician consultation for persistent low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels was diagnosed with fish eye disease. The case report appears in the Indian Journal of Nephrology.

V K Ingle, Department of Medicine, AIIMS Bhopal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, and associates reported the case of a 42-year-old male who was referred for physician consultation with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. The patient had persistently low HDL cholesterol (<10 mg/dl) and persistently high serum triglycerides (>200 mg/dl) on multiple occasions.

The patient was nonobese, nonsmoker, and had no other addictions. He had no history of premature cardiovascular events or renal failure in the family. Patient’s fasting blood sugars, renal function tests, and urine analysis were normal.

This mystery of persistent hypoalphalipoproteinemia was solved when it was noticed that patient had bilateral corneal opacities. Ophthalmologic evaluation revealed corneal opacities involving all the layers of the cornea with maximum density near the limbus, without any impairment of vision.

Persistent hypoalphalipoproteinemia with characteristic corneal opacities led to the provisional diagnosis of fish eye disease. Plasma lecithin- cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) activity performed at Pacific Biomarkers, USA, was normal. Genetic studies could not be performed because of economic non-viability. Family members had no dyslipidemia or corneal opacities.

A fisheye disease is a rare disease with only about thirty case reports. Fisheye disease or partial LCAT deficiency was named after the appearance of cornea similar to that of boiled fish. There is a partial deficiency of alpha-LCAT activity (present in HDL) while beta-LCAT activity is preserved.

In contrast to total LCAT deficiency, fish eye disease patients have no anemia or renal failure. There is no risk for premature coronary artery disease.

The patient was reassured and advised to follow-up with ophthalmologists at regular intervals.

Ingle V K, Maharana P K, Rajesh P. Secret in the eyes – fish eye disease. Indian J Nephrol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2018 Jun 5];26:313-4. Available from:

Source: With inputs from IJN

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