Author(s): Fledelius HC
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Abstract PURPOSE: Chiasmal lesions have been shown to give rise occasionally to uni-ocular temporal inattention, which cannot be compensated for by volitional eye movement. This article describes the assessments of 46 such patients with chiasmal pathology. It aims to determine the clinical spectrum of this disorder, including interference with reading. METHODS: Retrospective consecutive observational clinical case study over a 7-year period comprising 46 patients with chiasmal field loss of varying degrees. Observation of reading behaviour during monocular visual acuity testing ascertained from consecutive patients who appeared unable to read optotypes on the temporal side of the chart. Visual fields were evaluated by kinetic (Goldmann) and static (Octopus) techniques. Five patients who clearly manifested this condition are presented in more detail. The results of visual field testing were related to absence or presence of uni-ocular visual inattentive behaviour for distance visual acuity testing and/or reading printed text. RESULTS: Despite normal eye movements, the 46 patients making up the clinical series perceived only optotypes in the nasal part of the chart, in one eye or in both, when tested for each eye in turn. The temporal optotypes were ignored, and this behaviour persisted despite instruction to search for any additional letters temporal to those, which had been seen. This phenomenon of unilateral visual inattention held for both eyes in 18 and was unilateral in the remaining 28 patients. Partial or full reversibility after treatment was recorded in 21 of the 39 for whom reliable follow-up data were available. Reading a text was affected in 24 individuals, and permanently so in six. CONCLUSION: A neglect-like spatial unawareness and a lack of cognitive compensation for varying degrees of temporal visual field loss were present in all the patients observed. Not only is visual field loss a feature of chiasmal pathology, but the higher visual function of affording attention within the temporal visual field by means of using conscious thought to invoke appropriate compensatory eye movement was also absent. This suggests the possibility of 'trans-synaptic dysfunction' caused by loss of visual input to higher visual centres. When inattention to the temporal side is manifest on monocular visual testing it should raise the suspicion of chiasmal pathology.
This article was published in Acta Ophthalmol
and referenced in Journal of Medical & Surgical Pathology