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Ophthalmology. 1996 Nov;103(11):1768-73.

Prognostic value of magnetic resonance imaging in monosymptomatic optic neuritis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany.



Magnetic resonance imaging is able to depict lesions in the optic nerve in the acute stage of monosymptomatic optic neuritis. Most patients have lesions located intraorbitally, intracanalicularly, and/or intracranially. The goal of this study is to determine whether these lesions resolve after visual recovery, change in length or localization, or could be correlated to the visual function.


Between 1987 and 1992, the authors examined 22 patients with acute optic neuritis using magnetic resonance imaging short-time inversion recovery sequences. Additionally, the authors determined visual acuity, visual field, color vision, contrast sensitivity, and visual-evoked responses. All patients were re-examined between 1993 and 1994 in the same manner. Visual recovery in the re-examination was divided into three groups: group 1 with complete visual recovery (visual acuity better than 20/25); group 2 with incomplete recovery (visual acuity better than 20/25 but defect in at least one of the other tests: visual field, color vision, and contrast sensitivity); and group 3 with partial recovery (visual acuity remained less than 20/25, defect in all the other tests).


All group 1 patients initially had lesions less than 17.5 mm, group 2 patients had lesions greater than 17.5 mm (44%) and/or lesions located intracanalicularly (66%), and most of group 3 patients initially had lesions greater than 17.5 mm (79%).


Eyes with lesions less than 17.5 mm in the optic nerve in acute optic neuritis have a good prognosis for visual recovery. Lesions greater than 17.5 mm or lesions involving the intracanalicular portion of the optic nerve lead to incomplete or partial visual recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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