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Here’s the Case

Bilateral Hemianopia

A 31 year old female patient at term P2G1, had noticed tunnel vision whilst watching her children in the garden. Soon after this she developed a bi-temporal headache. No other symptoms were present.

The only past medical history was of a hearing impairment and hypertension early in the pregnancy.

The clinical examination revealed a bi-temporal hemianopia. This visual field defect(as shown below), must be caused by a lesion at the optic chiasm.


bi-temporal hemianopia







The patient was transferred to a tertiary hospital for an MRI, seen here (of a similar case). There was a significantly increase in the volume of the pituitary.

What are the causes of bitemporal hemianopia in pregnancy?

Physiological- The pituitary volume can increase by  up to 30% in late pregnancy resulting in a convexity of the superior surface- up to 12mm in height. This can cause pressure on the optic chiasm resulting in bi-temporal hemianopia. Normal vision returns gradually post delivery, following the gland returning to the original dimensions.

Pituitary Adenoma- Rare in pregnancy accounting for about 1% of adenomas. It is described in bromocriptine treatment for prolactinoma.

Vasculitis- One documented case in pregnancy presenting as bitemporal hemianopia.

Meningioma- One documented case presenting as bitemporal hemianopia

Hysterical- We consider

So if you see it, think MRI, to rule out the nasties.


Case sent in by Dr Peter Ivermee

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