Epidemic optic and peripheral neuropathy in Cuba: A unique geopolitical public health problem

Thomas R. Hedges, Michio Hirano, Katherine Tucker, Benjamin Caballero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During 1992 and 1993 an epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy effected over 50,000 Cubans. This occurred in the unique setting of a communist country which had a widespread health care network and wherein sudden changes in the economy affected most of the population. Although nutritional factors appeared to play a key role in the pathogenesis of the epidemic neuropathy, viral, toxic, and genetic factors were investigated by Cuban and North American scientists. The authors, representing different disciplines and different groups that visited Cuba during the epidemic, review and reflect on the clinical and laboratory findings which became available through their own experience and through reviewing the literature. The recent Cuban epidemic is compared to similar outbreaks of optic and peripheral neuropathy which have occurred in the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-353
Number of pages13
JournalSurvey of ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Cuba
  • epidemic neuropathy
  • nutrition
  • optic neuropathy
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • tobacco/alcohol amblyopia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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