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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995 Jun;112(6):742-6.

Reversible blindness secondary to acute sphenoid sinusitis.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA 23708-5100, USA.


Sphenoid sinusitis is an elusive diagnosis with significant morbidity if not diagnosed and treated promptly. We have reported an unusual case of acute sphenoiditis mimicking Gradenigo's syndrome. This resulted in virtual bilateral blindness that entirely resolved with aggressive surgical and medical treatment. It is recommended that sphenoid sinusitis be strongly considered in patients with acute headache and fever. A detailed cranial nerve examination should be performed, and CT scans of the skull base and paranasal sinuses should be obtained. Immediate surgery is strongly recommended for acute sphenoid sinusitis at the first suggestion of a complication and in those patients not promptly responding to medical therapy. It is apparent that irreversible damage to the optic nerve can occur before the development of gross intraorbital pathology. Therefore we believe that delaying surgery until the visual acuity is worse than 20/60, as advocated by some authors, may not be in the patient's best interest. Surgery should be directed at removing the purulent material, obtaining cultures, removing irreversibly diseased mucosa, and maintaining drainage of the sphenoid sinus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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