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August 1995

Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy Secondary to Interferon Alfa

Author Affiliations

From the Midwest Eye Institute/Methodist Hospital of Indiana and the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(8):1041-1044. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100080093034

Objective:  To report the occurrence of anterior ischemic optic neuropathy as a complication of treatment with interferon alfa and to consider the possible underlying mechanisms for this association.

Design:  Description of the clinical findings in two patients with this condition.

Setting:  A neuro-ophthalmology referral center.

Patients:  Two patients, ages 40 and 51 years, undergoing treatment with interferon alfa for malignant neoplasms experienced sudden bilateral, sequential visual loss with disc-related field defects and segmental optic disc edema.

Interventions:  Treatment with aspirin and prednisone in one patient.

Main Outcome Measures:  Visual acuity, color vision, Goldmann perimetry testing, and fundus photography.

Results:  Visual loss was mild and generally nonprogressive. The interval between initiating treatment with interferon alfa and onset of anterior ischemic optic neuropathy was similar to that of interferon-associated vascular retinopathy.

Conclusion:  Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy may complicate treatment with interferon alfa. The underlying pathogenesis is probably multifactorial.