Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy: Role of systemic corticosteroid therapy

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
Albrecht von Graæes Archiv für Ophthalmologie (Impact Factor: 1.91). 08/2008; 246(7):1029-46. DOI: 10.1007/s00417-008-0805-8
Source: PubMed


To investigate systematically the role of systemic corticosteroid therapy in non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION).
The study consists of a cohort of 613 consecutive patients (696 eyes), first seen in our clinic from 1973 to 2000. Of this cohort, 312 patients (364 eyes) voluntarily opted for systemic steroid therapy, and 301 (332 eyes) for no treatment. At first visit, all patients in both groups had a detailed ophthalmic and medical history, and comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation. Visual evaluation was done by recording Snellen visual acuity, and visual fields with a Goldmann perimeter. The same ophthalmic evaluation was performed at each follow-up visit. Patients in the steroid-treated group were initially given 80 mg Prednisone daily for 2 weeks, and then tapered down to 70 mg for 5 days, 60 mg for 5 days, and then cutting down by 5 mg every 5 days. Visual outcome in the two groups was compared
Median follow-up was 3.8 years. At 6 months from onset of NA-AION, of the eyes with initial visual acuity 20/70 or worse and seen within 2 weeks of onset, there was visual acuity improvement in 69.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 57.3%, 79.9%) in the treated group, compared to 40.5% (95% CI: 29.2%, 52.9%) in the untreated group (odds ratio of improvement: 3.39; 95% CI:1.62, 7.11; p = 0.001). Comparison of visual field defect at 6 months from onset of NA-AION, among those seen within 2 weeks of NA-AION onset with moderate to severe initial visual field defect, there was improvement in 40.1% (95% CI: 33.1%, 47.5%) of the treated group, and 24.5% (95% CI: 17.7%, 32.9%) of the untreated group (odds ratio: 2.06, 95% CI: 1.24, 3.40; p = 0.005). In both treated and untreated groups, the visual acuity and visual fields kept improving up to about 6 months from onset of NA-AION, and very little thereafter.
This study suggested that NA-AION eyes treated during the acute phase with systemic corticosteroids resulted in a significantly higher probability of improvement in visual acuity (p = 0.001) and visual field (p = 0.005) than in the untreated group. Both visual acuity and visual fields improved up to 6 months after onset of NA-AION.

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Available from: M. Bridget Zimmerman
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    • "Experimental Eye Research anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (rAION) and primate NAION (pNAION) were indistinguishable from those seen in clinical data of NAION(Bernstein et al., 2011; Salgado et al., 2011). A large study (694 eyes) showed that systemic steroid treatment was effective in patients with NAION in whom the initial visual acuity was 20/70 or worse, and improvements were seen if treated within two weeks of onset (Hayreh and Zimmerman, 2008). They observed that those who had worse initial visual field defects and visual acuity were associated with a faster resolution of disc edema with systemic steroid therapy in NAION compared to an untreated group (Hayreh and Zimmerman, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract This study investigated the protective effects of the administration of steroids on optic nerves (ON) and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in a rodent model of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (rAION). We induced rAION using rose bengal and argon laser irradiation in a photodynamic procedure on the optic discs of rats. The treated groups received methylprednisolone (MP) via peritoneal injection for 2 weeks. The control group received intraperitoneal injections of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) post-rAION. At the 4th week post-infarct, MP treatments significantly rescued the RGCs (mm2) in the central retinas (1920 ± 210, p < 0.001) and mid-peripheral retinas (950 ± 240, respectively, p = 0.018) compared with those of the PBS-treated rats (central: 900 ± 210 and mid-peripheral: 440 ± 180). Functional assessment with flash visual-evoked potentials demonstrated that P1 latency (ms) was shortened in the MP group compared to the PBS group (108 ± 14 and 147 ± 9, respectively, p < 0.001). In addition, the P1 amplitude (uV) was enhanced in the MP group compared to the PBS group (55 ± 12 and 41 ± 13, respectively, p < 0.05). TUNEL assays showed a decrease in the number of apoptotic cells in the RGC layers of MP-treated retinas compared to the PBS-treated group (p < 0.05). ED1 positive cells (/HPF) were significantly decreased in the ONs of the MP group compared to the PBS group (p < 0.001). In conclusion, systemic administration of MP had neuroprotective effects on RGC survival and ON function in the rAION animal model.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Experimental Eye Research
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    • "The rationale behind corticosteroid treatment, although not proven, is the thought that faster resolution of optic disc edema may be associated with better visual outcome [21]. The presumed mechanism for corticosteroids improve the outcome in NAION patients is prevention of the “vicious circle” [19] in which the ischemic tissue further suffers from the secondary damage by a mechanical pressure caused by the swollen ischemic axons in an already crowded disc with a small scleral canal. This would not prevent the primary insult but should theoretically limit the secondary insult. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background To date, non arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is still incurable. We wish to evaluate the effect of intravenous (IV) corticosteroids on the visual outcome of NAION patients. Methods Visual parameters were retrospectively compared between NAION patients treated with IV corticosteroids and untreated NAION patients (control). Visual acuity (VA) and Humphrey automated static perimetry visual field (VF) defects of the affected eye were compared between groups at baseline, 1, 3, 6 months, and end of follow-up visits. The VF analysis consisted of number of quadrant involvements and mean deviation (MD). Results Each group comprised 23 patients (24 eyes). Mean initial VA was similar in the control and treatment groups (p = 0.8). VA at end of follow-up did not improve in either groups (p = 0.8 treated group, p = 0.1 control group). No improvement and no difference in VF defects were found by either quadrant analysis (p = 0.1 treated group, p = 0.5 control group) or MD analysis (p = 0.2, treated group, p = 0.9 control group). VA and VF parameters tended to be worse in the treated group, although without statistical significance. Conclusions Our results suggest that IV corticosteroids may not improve the visual outcome of NAION patients. Since intravenous corticosteroids could potentially cause serious adverse effects, this treatment for NAION is questionable.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Ophthalmology
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    • "Following the concept of vascular occlusion as a key factor in sudden blindness, the conventional mainstay for the treatment of postsurgical loss of vision is the systemic administration of corticosteroids and anticoagulants, e.g. acetylsalicylic acid [6, 7, 8]. However, there is no generally accepted, well-proven treatment for NAION currently [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: A 46-year-old Caucasian female underwent pars plana vitrectomy (ppv) for retinal detachment. After the procedure, the patient could only distinguish hand movements; the condition was tentatively diagnosed as nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. Conventional treatment with systemic corticosteroids and acetylsalicylic acid was ineffective and yielded substantial steroid-related side effects. Additional administration of 2 × 110 mg dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa(®)), a novel direct thrombin inhibitor, resulted in a prompt and marked improvement of visual acuity, which indicated improved blood flow in the central vessels of the optic nerve. Dabigatran etexilate may provide a promising alternative for the treatment of postprocedural vision loss after ppv.
    Preview · Article · May 2014 · Case Reports in Ophthalmology
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