Optic Nerve Decompression May Improve the Progressive Form of Nonarteritic Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Robert C. Sergott, Marc S. Cohen, Thomas M. Bosley, Peter J. Savino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Optic nerve sheath decompression surgery improved visual function for 12 of 14 patients with progressive nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). Visual recovery was maintained in all patients during a follow-up period of 6 to 18 months (average, 11 months). Seven patients had experienced a previous NAION in the eye that was not operated on that did not improve spontaneously. Surprisingly, 2 of these 7 eyes with long-standing decreased vision demonstrated some visual improvement after surgery on the contralateral, acutely affected eye. Spontaneous visual improvement did not occur in an age- and sex-matched control group of 12 patients with similar entry-level visual acuity and field loss. Only 1 of 3 patients with sudden, nonprogressive visual loss secondary to NAION improved after surgery. In a control group with nonprogressive NAION, 2 of 15 eyes (14 patients) demonstrated spontaneous improvement. Optic nerve sheath decompression improves visual loss due to progressive NAION, a disorder without any previously effective therapy. However, for acute, nonprogressive NAION, surgery for a small number of patients did not improve the natural history of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1743-1754
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of ophthalmology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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