Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine changes in color Doppler imaging parameters before and after optic nerve sheath decompression (ONSD) for chronic papilledema caused by pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). Methods: Color Doppler imaging was performed within 48 hours before surgery and within 48 hours after the procedure using a color Doppler unit with a 7.5-MHz phased linear transducer. Pulsed Doppler spectrum analyses were recorded digitally on videotape from the ophthalmic, central retinal, and short posterior ciliary arteries, using a 0.4 × 0.6-mm sample volume. Results: Blood flow velocities in the ophthalmic, short posterior ciliary, and central retinal arteries of 24 eyes were significantly decreased compared with a healthy agematched group. Eyes with visual acuities worse than 20/30 before surgery had significantly decreased velocities in the ophthalmic, short posterior ciliary, and retinal arteries, whereas in eyes with visual acuities better than 20/30, only the short posterior ciliary and central retinal arteries demonstrated decreased velocities. In addition, Gosling's pulsatility index was increased for the central retinal artery but not the ophthalmic or short posterior ciliary arteries. Thirteen eyes improving in visual acuity and field after ONSD demonstrated significant improvement in all color Doppler imaging parameters for the short posterior ciliary arteries. The ophthalmic artery diastolic velocity also increased significantly but the central retinal artery parameters did not change. The eyes that remained stable or worsened did not demonstrate significant postoperative changes. Conclusion: These results suggest that some of the visual loss from chronic papilledema may be due to ischemia, and worsening visual acuity correlates with greater impairment of the retrobulbar circulation. One of the mechanisms by which ONSD improves visual function may be reversal of this ischemic process.
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