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J Anesth. 2013 Dec;27(6):919-26. doi: 10.1007/s00540-013-1648-y. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Perioperative visual loss after nonocular surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH, 43205, USA.


Although rare, a change in visual acuity after surgery for nonocular procedures has devastating consequences. Increased recognition and discussion of this complication is reported in recent literature, most notably following spinal and cardiac surgery. Various pathologies may be responsible for perioperative visual loss (POVL), including ischemic optic neuropathy, retinal vascular occlusion, and cortical blindness. Here we review the incidence of the problem, the anatomy and physiology of the ocular circulation, variants of POVL, and proposed predisposing factors. Potential perioperative methods to prevent this complication are discussed, and suggested treatment modalities are presented.

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