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May 1959

Hyaline Bodies of the Human Optic Nerve: Histopathologic Study of a Case of Advanced Syphilitic Optic Atrophy

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.
From the Department of Ophthalmology and the Laboratories of Neuropathology and Neuro-Ophthalmology of the University of Michigan Medical Center.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1959;61(5):780-788. doi:10.1001/archopht.1959.00940090782014

The occurrence of hyaline bodies (amyloid bodies) in the human optic nerve is rather common. It is rare, however, to observe such a tremendous number of hyaline bodies in the optic nerve as we did in the present case of optic nerve atrophy in acquired syphilis.

Report of Case  This is the case of a 54-year-old white man who died on May 1, 1958, in the Ypsilanti State Hospital, Michigan. The patient had acquired syphilis in 1927, at the age of 23. He was treated with bismuth, mercury, and arsphenamine (Salvarsan). After 11 weeks of such treatment the blood tests for syphilis were negative, and regular blood tests every 9 to 12 months for the next four years were also negative. In 1946, however, the patient was laid off as a factory worker because of failing eyesight. The plant doctor then found that his vision was 20/60 O. U. Over