Neuro-ophthalmology

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Douglas KA, Douglas VP, Cestari DM. Neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of the phakomatoses. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2019;30(6):434-442.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The phakomatoses are a group of inherited disorders with variable clinical manifestations that are characterized by brain, cutaneous, ocular and other distinct lesions in multiple organs. Correctly recognizing the neuro-ophthalmic signs and symptoms can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. The group is composed of neurofibromatosis (type 1 and 2), tuberous sclerosis complex, von Hippel-Lindau, ataxia-telangiectasia and Sturge-Weber syndromes. However, more than 60 syndromes have been described in the medical literature. This review provides an update on the diagnosis and management of phakomatoses with a focus on their clinical neuro-ophthalmic manifestations. RECENT FINDINGS: Phakomatoses are a group of inherited syndromes with variable clinical manifestations that are characterized by brain, cutaneous, ocular and other distinct lesions in multiple organs. Recent advances in diagnostic and treatment options that have contributed to prompt recognition and management of these disorders are discussed with an emphasis on the beneficial effects on vision. SUMMARY: Phakomatoses, also known as neuro-oculo-cutaneous syndromes, are inherited disorders with characteristic lesions in multiple organs. Because of their frequent ocular involvement thorough ophthalmologic and neuro-ophthalmic evaluation is critical in this patient population in order to prevent vision loss and life-threatening complications that are often associated with these disorders.
Douglas VP, Owji S, Pakravan M, Charoenkijkajorn C, Lee AG. McArdle Disease Rhabdomyolysis Precipitated by Acetazolamide for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. J Neuroophthalmol 2022;
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Reinshagen KL, Chwalisz BK. Case 292. Radiology 2021;299(1):234-236.Abstract
History A 24-year-old right-handed woman presented to a neuro-ophthalmology clinic in Massachusetts in the summer with acute binocular diplopia when looking down and to the left, which started about 1 month earlier. Her medical history was notable for Raynaud syndrome, recurrent streptococcal pharyngitis, and an allergy to amoxicillin. Three days prior to developing diplopia, she presented to an outside emergency department due to fever, chills, and back pain. She received ciprofloxacin for presumed urinary tract infection based on urinalysis, which demonstrated few bacteria and was negative for leukocyte esterase, nitrites, and white blood cells. She then presented again to an outside emergency department for diplopia evaluation. Initial MRI and MR angiography of the brain at that time did not demonstrate any relevant findings, and the patient was referred to our department for neuro-ophthalmic evaluation, where she was seen 4 weeks later. Neuro-ophthalmic examination revealed 20/20 visual acuity in both eyes, and a right hypertropia in left gaze, downgaze and right head tilt, with right eye excyclotorsion. There were no ocular signs of myasthenia gravis or thyroid eye disease, nor did the patient report ocular or systemic symptoms. She denied recent travel. High-spatial-resolution MRI of the brain and orbit were performed (Figs 1, 2).
Douglas VP, Flores C, Douglas KA, Strominger MB, Kasper E, Torun N. Oculomotor nerve schwannoma: case series and literature review. Surv Ophthalmol 2022;67(4):1160-1174.Abstract
Oculomotor nerve schwannomas are rare benign cranial nerve tumors. There are only a limited number of reports on this pathology in the literature, and there are currently no established management guidelines that aid providers in deciding on surgical versus nonsurgical management. We assess the published literature on the topic to identify indications for treatment as well as outcome measures (e.g., local control rates, survival rates, and complication rates) that have been reported as associated with the various treatment modalities. We attempt to develop an algorithm for evaluation and treatment of oculomotor nerve schwannomas in order to establish consensus on how these tumors should be treated.
Douglas KA, Douglas VP, Chwalisz BK. Fulminant Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome Secondary to Over-the-Counter Topical Retinoids. J Neuroophthalmol 2020;40(2):248-249.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Cestari DM. Ophthalmic manifestations of dementing disorders. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2021;32(6):515-520.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Dementia is a term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities, which significantly interferes with daily life. Certain dementing conditions may also affect visual function. The eye is an accessible window to the brain that can provide valuable information for the early diagnosis of people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies as well as from more rare causes of dementias, such as Creutzfeldt-Jacob and Huntington's diseases. Herein, we present the ocular manifestations of neurocognitive disorders focusing on the neuro-ophthalmic ones and further discuss potential ocular biomarkers that could help in early detection of these disorders. RECENT FINDINGS: Ophthalmic examination along with the recent developments in in-vivo testing have provided a strong foundation of useful knowledge about brain disorder in neurodegenerative diseases without the need for invasive studies. Currently, a number of visual measures, such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, pupil response, and saccades in addition to various ophthalmic tests, such as electroretinogram, visual evoked potential, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and OCT-angiography have been widely used and evaluated as potential biomarkers for different stages of dementia. SUMMARY: Ophthalmologic and neuro-ophthalmic evaluation is evolving as an important part of the early diagnosis and management of people with dementia. A particular focus on ocular biomarkers in dementing illnesses has arisen over the past few years and there are several promising measures and imaging tools that have been proposed as potential biomarkers for these diseases.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Cestari DM. Immune checkpoint inhibitors: what neuro-ophthalmologists need to know. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2019;30(6):426-433.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Immune checkpoint inhibitors are currently an exceedingly powerful tool in the management of hitherto incurable malignancies and their use in clinical practice is expected to increase in the near future. The purpose of this review is to discuss the current medical uses of checkpoint inhibitors with a focus on their neuro-ophthalmic side-effects. RECENT FINDINGS: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have emerged as a promising breakthrough in the treatment of several tumor types. However, these targeted therapies can induce a wide range of immune-related ophthalmic and neuro-ophthalmic toxicities. It is important for neuro-ophthamologists to promptly recognize and manage these adverse events that can potentially threaten vision. SUMMARY: There are currently seven FDA-approved immune checkpoint inhibitors and several ones are under investigation. In general, immunotherapy is considered a well tolerated, safe and efficacious treatment option for many cancer patients. Nevertheless, because of their unique mechanism of action, these molecules can alter the immune response and result in immune-related adverse effects in almost every organ with an estimated incidence of ophthalmic side effects in this patient population of less than 1%.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Rizzo JF, Chwalisz BK. Case report: Orbital myositis triggering oxygen-responsive cluster headache. Cephalalgia 2020;40(3):313-316.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Orbital myositis is an idiopathic, non-infectious condition, typically seen in young females and usually affecting one extraocular muscle. Orbital myositis mimicking cluster headache is a rare clinical entity, and this is the first description of a case of a secondary trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia from orbital myositis responsive to high-flow oxygen. CASE: A young woman presented with new-onset, oxygen-responsive headache, periorbital pain and autonomic features. She had associated vertical diplopia on downgaze and subtle ocular misalignment. An initial diagnosis of cluster headache was made. Initial brain MRI was unrevealing, but dedicated MRI of the orbits showed enhancement of orbital muscles. The diplopia and the imaging findings were consistent with orbital myositis. CONCLUSION: Orbital myositis mimicking cluster headache is rare, and not previously reported as an oxygen-responsive headache.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Miller JB, Gaier ED. Absent Foveal Avascular Zone in Autosomal Recessive Spastic Ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):e166-e168.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Rapalino O, Champion SN, Chwalisz BK. Nelson Syndrome: Clival Invasion of Corticotroph Pituitary Adenoma Resulting in Alternating Sixth Nerve Palsies. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(1):114-118.Abstract
ABSTRACT: A 44-year-old woman presented with 2 painful and self-limited episodes of binocular horizontal diplopia within 1 year that at the beginning were thought to be secondary to microvascular insult. Her medical history was significant for Cushing syndrome status post transsphenoidal resection with bilateral adrenalectomy 4 years prior, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Neuro-ophthalmic evaluation was significant for left abduction deficit and incomitant esotropia consistent with left abducens nerve palsy. Of note, the patient had experienced a similar episode but on the contralateral side a few months prior. Although initially MRI of the brain demonstrated stable residual postoperative finding in the sella, upon review, an heterogenous T-1 hypointense marrow in the clivus was noted. Hypermetabolism of the clivus was also noted on computed tomography positron emission tomography of the skull base. A clival biopsy demonstrated a corticotroph adenoma with elevated proliferation index and scattered mitoses. A corticotroph pituitary adenoma after adrenalectomy, also known as Nelson syndrome, was diagnosed. Radiation therapy was offered to the patient, and resolution of symptoms was gradually observed.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Cestari DM. Optic nerve sheath meningioma. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2020;31(6):455-461.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Optic nerve sheath meningiomas (ONSMs) are rare benign tumors of the anterior visual pathway which present with slowly progressive and painless vision loss and account for approximately 2% of all orbital tumors. This article provides an overview as well as an update on the ONSMs with regards to cause, epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management in adults and pediatric population. RECENT FINDINGS: The clinical presentation and prognosis of ONSMs can vary and largely depend on the location of tumor as well as the histologic type. Overall, the diagnosis is based on clinical presentation, examination, and neuroimaging findings. Nevertheless, delays in diagnosis or misdiagnosis are not uncommon and can result in higher morbidity rates. Recent advances in diagnostic as well as more effective and less-invasive treatment options are discussed in this review. SUMMARY: ONSMs are a rare cause of slowly progressive and inexorable visual loss. Although ONSM diagnosis depends on the characteristic clinical and radiologic findings, prompt diagnosis, and appropriate management is critical for favorable visual outcomes. Thus, current focus is optimizing diagnostic as well-treatment methods for patients with ONSMs.
Duarte D, Bauer CCC, Pinto CB, Saleh Velez FG, Estudillo-Guerra MA, Pacheco-Barrios K, Gunduz ME, Crandell D, Merabet L, Fregni F. Cortical plasticity in phantom limb pain: A fMRI study on the neural correlates of behavioral clinical manifestations. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 2020;304:111151.Abstract
The neural mechanism of phantom limb pain (PLP) is related to the intense brain reorganization process implicating plasticity after deafferentation mostly in sensorimotor system. There is a limited understanding of the association between the sensorimotor system and PLP. We used a novel task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach to (1) assess neural activation within a-priori selected regions-of-interested (motor cortex [M1], somatosensory cortex [S1], and visual cortex [V1]), (2) quantify the cortical representation shift in the affected M1, and (3) correlate these changes with baseline clinical characteristics. In a sample of 18 participants, we found a significantly increased activity in M1 and S1 as well as a shift in motor cortex representation that was not related to PLP intensity. In an exploratory analyses (not corrected for multiple comparisons), they were directly correlated with time since amputation; and there was an association between increased activity in M1 with a lack of itching sensation and V1 activation was negatively correlated with PLP. Longer periods of amputation lead to compensatory changes in sensory-motor areas; and itching seems to be a protective marker for less signal changes. We confirmed that PLP intensity is not associated with signal changes in M1 and S1 but in V1.
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Eichler FS, Swoboda KJ, Hunt AL, Cestari DM, Rapalino O. Case 38-2017. A 20-Year-Old Woman with Seizures and Progressive Dystonia. N Engl J Med 2017;377(24):2376-2385.
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Fickweiler W, Wolfson EA, Paniagua SM, Yu MG, Adam A, Bahnam V, Sampani K, Wu I-H, Musen G, Aiello LP, Shah H, Sun JK, King GL. Response to Letter to the Editor from [Ludmila Brunerova]: (Association of Cognitive Function and Retinal Neural and Vascular Structure in Type 1 Diabetes). J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2021;
Fortin E, Gaier ED. Pseudohemangioma in Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Ophthalmology 2018;125(6):903.
Fortin E, Cestari DM, Weinberg DH. Ocular myasthenia gravis: an update on diagnosis and treatment. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2018;29(6):477-484.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that commonly affects the palpebral and extraocular muscles. Ocular myasthenia gravis (OMG) is a variant of the disease that is confined to the ocular muscles but frequently becomes generalized over time. The diagnosis of OMG is often challenging but both clinical and laboratory findings are helpful in confirming the clinical suspicion. This review provides an update on the diagnostic approach and therapeutic options for OMG. RECENT FINDINGS: Antimuscle-specific tyrosine kinase and LDL-related receptor-related protein 4 are newly available serologic testing for myasthenia gravis that can help in increasing the diagnostic sensitivity of OMG. They should be included to the diagnostic algorithm of OMG in appropriate clinical situations. SUMMARY: OMG remains a primarily clinical diagnosis, but recent advances in laboratory testing can improve the diagnostic accuracy and should be used in appropriate clinical settings. The mainstay of treatment for OMG has not significantly changed over the past years, but the increasing availability of steroid-sparing agents improved the disease control while minimizing steroid-induced complications.
Francis JH, Jaben K, Santomasso BD, Canestraro J, Abramson DH, Chapman PB, Berkenstock M, Aronow ME. Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Associated Optic Neuritis. Ophthalmology 2020;127(11):1585-1589.
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Gaier ED, Wang M, Gilbert AL, Rizzo JF, Cestari DM, Miller JB. Quantitative analysis of optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCT-A) in patients with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) corresponds to visual function. PLoS One 2018;13(6):e0199793.Abstract
PURPOSE: Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is the most common cause of non-glaucomatous optic neuropathy in older adults. Optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCT-A) is an emerging, non-invasive method to study the microvasculature of the posterior pole, including the optic nerve head. The goal of this study was to assess the vascular changes in the optic nerve head and peripapillary area associated with NAION using OCT-A. DESIGN: Retrospective comparative case series. METHODS: We performed OCT-A in 25 eyes (7 acute and 18 non-acute) in 19 patients with NAION. Fellow, unaffected eyes were analyzed for comparison. Patent macro- and microvascular densities were quantified in the papillary and peripapillary regions of unaffected, acutely affected, and non-acutely affected eyes and compared across these groups according to laminar segment and capillary sampling region, and with respect to performance on automated visual field testing. RESULTS: In acutely affected eyes, OCT-A revealed a reduction in the signal from the major retinal vessels and dilation of patent superficial capillaries in the peripapillary area. By contrast, non-acutely affected eyes showed attenuation of patent capillaries. The peripapillary choriocapillaris was obscured by edema in acute cases, but was similar between non-acute and unaffected eyes. The degree of dilation of the superficial microvasculature in the acute phase and attenuation in the non-acute phase each correlated inversely with visual field performance. The region of reduced patent capillary density correlated with the location of visual field defects in 80% of acute cases and 80% of non-acute cases. CONCLUSIONS: OCT-A reveals a dynamic shift in the superficial capillary network of the optic nerve head with strong functional correlates in both the acute and non-acute phases of NAION. Further study may validate OCT-A as a useful adjunctive diagnostic tool in the evaluation of ischemic optic neuropathy.
Gaier ED, Gittinger JW, Cestari DM, Miller JB. Peripapillary Capillary Dilation in Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy Revealed by Optical Coherence Tomographic Angiography. JAMA Ophthalmol 2016;134(11):1332-1334.
Gaier ED, Gilbert AL, Cestari DM, Miller JB. Optical coherence tomographic angiography identifies peripapillary microvascular dilation and focal non-perfusion in giant cell arteritis. Br J Ophthalmol 2018;102(8):1141-1146.Abstract
AIMS: We set out to determine the optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCT-A) characteristics of arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy (AAION) in the context of giant cell arteritis (GCA). METHODS: This is an observational case series of four patients with AAION secondary to GCA, three with unilateral AAION and one with bilateral AAION. We reviewed the charts, fundus photography, visual fields, fluorescein angiography (FA) and OCT-A images for all patients to identify a unifying theme in a range of AAION clinical severity. Imaging of two healthy control eyes from two patients of similar age to the patients in our series were used for comparison. RESULTS: Superficial peripapillary capillary dilation was seen in eyes with acute AAION. It was also noted in the fellow eyes of two patients. Retinal capillary perfusion defects corresponded to visual field loss. Dense optic disc oedema and cotton-wool spots imparted blockage effects. OCT-A laminar analysis did not highlight the choroidal/choriocapillaris perfusion defects seen on FA in two patients. Follow-up OCT-A was obtained in two patients and revealed progression to superficial peripapillary capillary attenuation that corresponded with visual field loss. CONCLUSIONS: There are acute and chronic vascular changes in AAION that are detectable by OCT-A that correspond with visual function. Though the microvascular changes seen in GCA and AAION are not specific, the nearly ubiquitous findings among preclinical and clinically affected eyes in this series of patients with GCA support OCT-A as a potentially useful adjunctive diagnostic test in the work-up of ambiguous cases of suspected ischaemic optic neuropathy.

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