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Eye bleed - has anyone had a similar issue?


Hi. My dad has had Leukemia (CML) for a number of years now. He has recently been having trouble with extra veins growing in the back of his eye. He has also recently (just over the past few days) suffered an eye bleed with his sight greatly diminishing as a result of this and has been unable to leave the house (or read or watch TV unfortunately). 

It is not clear to him whether the disease or the treatment has caused this but I wanted to ask if anyone else has had similar issues and can advise how they dealt with this or share their experiences? 

He takes Glivec (Amatanib).

Thanks very much in advance.



Hi Sarah,

Eye bleeds are a common side effect of imatinib. They are generally harmless and resolve themselves, but are usually confined to the whites of the eye and don’t affect vision too badly.

How do you know he’s had extra veins growing? Has an ophthalmologist had a look?


I had a superficial bleed in the white part of my eye after a few months on Imatinib.It resolved by itself with no lasting effects.Not inside the eye though.


Just to recount my experience of eye bleeds into the white of the eye (sub-conjunctival haemorrhage), I have had these to both eyes over a long period (since 2012) but the occurrence dissipates within two weeks without impact on sight. Generally, I feel a slight sharp pain in advance followed by a short period of discomfort. This is a known side effect of Glivec (Imatinib).

It is probably unrelated but I've had one occasion which was an eye bleed into the back of the eye (Vitreous Haemorrhage), this did cause an issue with my sight (shadowing) which prompted me to visit my ophthalmologist who examined and sent me to the local Eye Clinic with a letter of introduction. After a number of tests including a Fluorescein Angiograph and no specific treatment the condition cleared in about 10 weeks. It was determined to be due to a blocked vein, but no link was made with Glivec (Imatinib).

If the situation had deteriorated or not improved since you posted on the 8th, I'd recommend a visit to an ophthalmologist or contacting the clinic where your father is seen for his CML checkups.

During the 11 years I was on 400mg imatinib, I guess I had about one eye bleed a year; they all resolved themselves w/out any loss of vision within a couple of weeks. Have not had one since I reduced to 200mg in Oct 17, and stopped the meds in Oct '18. 

Yes, I have had eye blood spots covering the entire white of my eye 2 times since on Gleevec.  Looks really freaky but resolves itself in a few days.

Thank you very much for your responses. His eyes have cleared now luckily and he can read again. It took a few weeks to clear this time though! Hope all are keeping safe.