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Acute Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

James A. Goodwin, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(7):951-952. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360070089031.
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Acute anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION) is a common cause of profound visual loss in the elderly and the not-so-elderly and is often associated with systemic disorders. Even so, this condition is not frequently discussed in the medical literature outside ophthalmology specialty journals. For these reasons it is appropriate to call readers' attention to an article that appears in the August issue of Archives OF Ophthalmology in which Guyer et al1 have analyzed the incidence of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events in patients with ischemic optic neuropathy.

As the name implies, acute anterior ischemic optic neuropathy is defined as an infarct of the optic nerve, usually at the level of the optic disc. This results in abrupt visual loss in one eye and swelling of the optic nerve head.2 The area of ischemic damage is limited to a small region within the optic nerve, so there is generally no


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