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Arch Neurol. 1998 May;55(5):715-9.

Ischemic optic neuropathy associated with internal carotid artery dissection.

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Department of Neurology, Hôpital Lariboisière, Paris, France.



Ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) is an infarction of the anterior or, less frequently, posterior part of the optic nerve, usually due to a disease of small arteries supplying the optic nerve. Carotid stenosis or occlusions are rare causes, and among them, carotid dissections have been so far reported in only 5 cases.


We describe 4 patients with ION (2 anterior and 2 posterior) due to internal carotid artery dissection of a consecutive series of 110 patients with internal carotid artery dissection (3.6%).


None of the patients had signs of central retinal artery occlusion or ischemic ocular syndrome. Ischemic optic neuropathy occurred after a mean of 5.3 days (range, 3-8 days) following the first symptom, which was headache in 1 patient, transient monocular blindness in 2, and hemispheric transient ischemic attack in 1. One patient had associated Homer syndrome, and 2 had severe ipsilateral headache and orbital pain. None of the patients developed a cerebral infarction. These features differ from those observed in "classic" nonarteritic anterior ION and might therefore point to carotid dissection.


Ischemic optic neuropathy may occur as an early sign of carotid dissection: young age, previous transient monocular blindness, an association with pain, Horner syndrome, or hemispheric transient ischemic attacks are suggestive of this cause and should prompt confirmatory investigations.

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