Date: 03 Jul 2013

Ischemic optic neuropathies — where are we now?

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Abstract

Ischemic optic neuropathy is of two types: anterior and posterior. Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION) is the most common type of ischemic optic neuropathy. There are three major misconceptions about NA-AION: (1) that its pathogenesis is not known, (2) that NA-AION and ischemic cerebral stroke are similar in nature, pathogenetically and in management, and (3) that there is no treatment. All these misconceptions are based on lack of in-depth knowledge of the subject. They are discussed in the light of our current scientific knowledge. The pathogenesis of NA-AION is known but is highly complex. NA-AION and ischemic cerebral stroke are very different clinical entities, pathogenetically and in management. Aspirin has no beneficial effect. Corticosteroid therapy during the initial stages can be beneficial. To reduce the risk of development of NA-AION in the other eye or of further visual loss in the same eye, it is essential to reduce as many risk factors as possible. Management of arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and of posterior ischemic optic neuropathy is discussed.

Supported by grant EY-1151 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and in part by unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., New York, USA.
This was the Keynote Lecture at the 110th Annual Congress of the German Opthalmology Society in Berlin on September 21, 2012.