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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Jan-Feb;27(1):4-11. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e3181df6a87.

Comparison of lateral and medial orbital decompression for the treatment of compressive optic neuropathy in thyroid eye disease.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



To compare the efficacy of lateral orbital decompression with medial orbital decompression for the treatment of compressive optic neuropathy (CON) caused by thyroid eye disease (TED).


A retrospective review of all patients undergoing orbital decompression for TED-associated CON between 2003 and 2008 was conducted. Clinical outcome measures included visual acuity, mean deviation on Humphrey visual field, Ishihara color plate testing, afferent pupillary defect, and Hertel exophthalmometry. A composite CON score was also calculated for each patient based on the 3 visual outcome measures, with a higher CON score reflecting greater disease severity.


Twenty-eight eyes of 17 patients were included in the study. Ten orbits underwent lateral wall decompression, and 18 orbits underwent medial decompression. Both groups showed a significant postoperative improvement in visual acuity, Humphrey visual field testing, and color testing at 3 months following the initial surgery. The composite CON score improved 9.04 ± 9.97 points after lateral decompression (p = 0.02) and 9.03 ± 10.84 points after medial decompression (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in the degree of improvement in any of the visual outcome measures between the lateral and medial groups. There was a statistically significant difference in the amount of proptosis reduction resulting from lateral decompression compared with medial decompression (6.3 versus 3.1 mm, respectively, p < 0.0001).


Lateral orbital decompression and medial orbital decompression are both efficacious for the treatment of TED-associated CON. Lateral decompression also results in a greater proptosis reduction than medial decompression.

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