Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

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Ischemic optic neuropathy is a sudden, painless loss of vision that occurs when the circulation to part of the optic nerve is compromised for reasons that remain unclear. It occurs primarily in people over 55 years old, those who have high blood pressure or (less often) those with diabetes. Risk factors also include smoking and structural abnormalities of the optic nerve itself. Patients typically awaken one day with vision in one eye significantly impaired. Loss of vision in the lower half of the eye is the most common consequence. Although there is no proven therapy for the condition, early evaluation provides the best chance to gain possible benefit from newly developed therapies.

Signs and Symptoms

Sudden loss of vision (partial or total) in one eye


Newly developed, experimental therapies to protect the optic nerve; prisms, magnifiers and other low vision devices may help in cases where there is partial vision