Two cases of atrophy of the optic nerve, probably due to malnutrition, are reported; this complication of malnutrition may be commoner now than the literature has indicated in the past. This greater frequency may be incident to the severe malnutrition to which some American prisoners of war were subjected. A short review of the available literature is given.
Lombroso (1869), Guaita, Rampoldi and several other Italian authors, as cited by Bietti,1 reported atrophy of the optic nerve in pellagrins; but, as Bietti pointed out, other reasons for the atrophy had not been ruled out. The principal object of Bietti's report was an investigation of the relation of pellagra to retinitis pigmentosa. Microscopic examination of the eyes of 10 patients who had died of pellagra did not reveal a single case of atrophy of the optic nerve.
Whaley2 reported on examinations of 36 pellagrins, 3 of whom had optic
EISSLER R. ATROPHY OF THE OPTIC NERVE DUE TO MALNUTRITION: Report of two cases. Arch Ophthalmol. 1948;39(4):465–470. doi:10.1001/archopht.1948.00900020473002
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