Author(s): Hayreh SS, Zimmerman MB
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate systematically the natural history of visual outcome in nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). DESIGN: Cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred forty consecutive untreated patients (386 eyes) with NAION, first seen in our clinic from 1973 to 2000. METHODS: At first visit, all patients gave a detailed ophthalmic and medical history and underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation. Visual evaluation was done by recording visual acuity, using the Snellen visual acuity chart, and visual fields with a Goldmann perimeter. The same ophthalmic evaluation was performed at each follow-up visit. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Natural history of visual acuity and visual field outcome in NAION. RESULTS: Of the 386 eyes, 332 had 8 weeks or more of follow-up from the initial visit. At the initial visit, in eyes seen < or =2 weeks from onset of symptoms, 49\% had visual acuity of > or =20/30 and 23\% had < or =20/200; in these eyes, 38\% had minimal to mild visual field defect and 43\% marked to severe defect. In those who were first seen < or =2 weeks after onset with visual acuity < or =20/70, there was improvement in 41\% at 6 months and in 42\% at 1 year after the initial visit. Two years after the initial visit, there was deterioration in 9\% of eyes with initial visual acuity of > or =20/60, and in 18\% of those with initial visual acuity of < or =20/70. In those who were first seen < or =2 weeks of onset with moderate to severe visual field defect, there was improvement in 26\% at 6 months and 27\% at 1 year after the initial visit. Two years after the initial visit, 27\% of eyes with initial minimal to mild field defects showed worsening, as did 19\% of those with moderate to severe defects. CONCLUSIONS: About half of the eyes with NAION presented with almost normal visual acuity (20/15 to 20/30) at the initial visit. Thus, the presence of normal visual acuity does not rule out NAION. Visual acuity and visual fields showed improvement or further deterioration mainly up to 6 months, with no significant change after that.
This article was published in Ophthalmology
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology