Neuro-ophthalmology

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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, Rasool N, Rizzo JF. Sectoral Sparing Associated With a Cilioretinal Artery in Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. J Neuroophthalmol 2022;42(2):e514-e516.Abstract
ABSTRACT: Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a life-threatening vasculitis occurring in older adults that can cause blindness by ischemia of the choroid, retina, and optic nerve. We report a case of a patient who presented with "occult" GCA with severe anterior ischemic optic neuropathy affecting both optic nerves, delayed choroidal filling, and a concomitant cilioretinal artery occlusion in the left eye. The retinal territory supplied by the affected cilioretinal artery was hypoperfused, yet this retinal territory at least partially corresponded to the only preserved visual field in that eye. The sector of the optic disc corresponding to the emergence of the cilioretinal artery was the only sector spared by pallid edema. This pattern of sectoral sparing associated with a cilioretinal artery has been observed in other patients with GCA and in animal models of posterior ciliary artery occlusion. This case serves as a clear example of an incompletely understood phenomenon in posterior pole circulation in vascular occlusive disease that deserves further study.
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.
Gaier ED, Boudreault K, Rizzo JF, Falardeau J, Cestari DM. Atypical Optic Neuritis. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2015;15(12):76.Abstract

Classic demyelinative optic neuritis is associated with multiple sclerosis and typically carries a good prognosis for visual recovery. This disorder is well characterized with respect to its presentation and clinical features by baseline data obtained through the optic neuritis treatment trial and numerous other studies. Atypical optic neuritis entails clinical manifestations that deviate from this classic pattern of features. Clinical signs and symptoms that deviate from the typical presentation should prompt consideration of less common etiologies. Atypical features to consider include lack of pain, simultaneous or near-simultaneous onset, lack of response to or relapse upon tapering from corticosteroids, or optic nerve head or peripapillary hemorrhages. The most important alternative etiologies to consider and the steps towards their respective diagnostic evaluations are suggested for these atypical features.

Gaier ED, Rizzo JF, Miller JB, Cestari DM. Focal Capillary Dropout Associated With Optic Disc Drusen Using Optical Coherence Tomographic Angiography. J Neuroophthalmol 2017;37(4):405-410.Abstract
Optic disc drusen may be a cause of visual field defects and visual loss. The mechanism by which this occurs is unclear. We report a patient who developed decreased vision in the right eye and was found to have a heavy burden of superficial optic disc drusen. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) confirmed focal retinal nerve fiber layer thinning that corresponded with the distribution of drusen. OCT angiography, with superficial laminar segmentation, showed focal capillary attenuation overlying the most prominent drusen. These findings demonstrate alterations in the superficial retinal capillary network associated with optic disc drusen.
Gaier ED, Torun N. The enigma of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy: an update for the comprehensive ophthalmologist. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is the most common cause of acute optic nerve injury, and frequently presents to comprehensive ophthalmologists. We review the typical and atypical clinical features and current literature on various treatment modalities for NAION. RECENT FINDINGS: The epidemiology and clinical presentation of this disease can be variable, making a definitive diagnosis difficult in many cases. In addition, the differential diagnoses for this disorder, although comprising much less prevalent entities, are quite broad and can have substantial systemic implications if these alternatives go unrecognized. NAION has many systemic associations and comorbidities that deserve inquiry when the diagnosis is made. There are currently no widely accepted, evidence-based treatments for NAION. All recommendations made to patients to reduce their risk of sequential eye involvement, including avoidance of potential nocturnal hypotension, erectile dysfunction medication, and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, have theoretical bases. SUMMARY: NAION is a common cause of acute vision loss in adult and older patients, and thus, comprehensive ophthalmologists need to be able to diagnose and appropriately manage this disorder. We anticipate fruitful results from current and future trials aimed at neuroprotection in the affected eye and prevention of sequential eye involvement.

Galetta K, Ryan S, Manzano G, Chibnik LB, Balaban D, Prasad S, Chwalisz BK, Salazar-Camelo A, Conway S, Levy M, Matiello M. Treatment outcomes of first-ever episode of severe optic neuritis. Mult Scler Relat Disord 2022;66:104020.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Severe optic neuritis (ON) is an acute inflammatory attack of the optic nerve(s) leading to severe visual loss that may occur in isolation or as part of a relapsing neuroinflammatory disease, such neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody associated disease (MOGAD), or more rarely multiple sclerosis (MS). In cases of first-ever severe ON of uncertain etiology best treatment strategies remain unclear. METHODS: We reviewed records of all patients with a documented diagnosis of ON between 2004 and 2019 at Mass General Brigham (MGB) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) hospitals. Out of 381 patients identified, 90 (23.6%) satisfied the study criteria for severe ON with visual acuity (VA) equal to or worse than 20/200 (logMAR=1) at nadir in the affected eye and had sufficient follow-up data. Treatment strategies with corticosteroids only or treatment escalation with therapeutic plasma exchange (PLEX) after steroids were compared and evaluated for differences in visual outcomes at follow-up. RESULTS: Of the 90 patients with severe optic neuritis, 71(78.9%) received corticosteroids only, and 19 (17.0%) underwent PLEX following corticosteroids. Of the 71 patients who received steroids without escalation to PLEX, 30 patients (42.2%) achieved complete recovery (VA 20/20 on the affected eye), whereas 35 (49.3%) had a partial recovery and 6 (8.4%) had no recovery. Among the 19 corticosteroid non-responders patients who underwent escalation treatment, 13 (68.4%) made complete recovery, 6 (31.6%) had partial visual recoveries (p=0.0434). The median delta logMAR of patients who underwent escalation of care was -1.2 compared with 2.0 for the ones who did not (p=0.0208). A change of delta logmar 2.0 is equivalent of going from hand motion to light perception and the positive delta value refers to intra-attack worsening. Other than not responding to steroids, patients who underwent PLEX tended to have more severe ON with significantly worse nadir visual acuity compared with those who received corticosteroids alone (logMAR 3.12 (min 2.0 - max 5.0) vs. 2.17 (min 1.3 - max 3.0); p=0.004). CONCLUSION: In our cohort of first-ever severe optic neuritis of unknown etiology, patients that did not respond adequately to corticosteroids benefited from treatment escalation to PLEX, followed in most cases by Rituximab, regardless of final etiology. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the best treatment strategies.
Galli J, Ambrosi C, Micheletti S, Merabet LB, Pinardi C, Gasparotti R, Fazzi E. White matter changes associated with cognitive visual dysfunctions in children with cerebral palsy: A diffusion tensor imaging study. J Neurosci Res 2018;96(11):1766-1774.Abstract
Children with cerebral palsy often present with cognitive-visual dysfunctions characterized by visuo-perceptual and/or visuo-spatial deficits associated with a malfunctioning of visual-associative areas. The neurofunctional model of this condition remains poorly understood due to the lack of a clear correlation between cognitive-visual deficit and morphological brain anomalies. The aim of our study was to quantify the pattern of white matter abnormalities within the whole brain in children with cerebral palsy, and to identify white matter tracts sub-serving cognitive-visual functions, in order to better understand the basis of cognitive-visual processing. Nine subjects (three males, mean age 8 years 9 months) with cerebral palsy underwent a visual and cognitive-visual evaluation. Conventional brain MRI and diffusion tensor imaging were performed. The fractional anisotropy maps were calculated for every child and compared with data from 13 (four males, mean age 10 years 7 months) healthy children. Children with cerebral palsy showed decreased fractional anisotropy (a marker of white matter integrity) in corticospinal tract bilaterally, left superior longitudinal fasciculus and bilateral hippocampus. Focusing on the superior longitudinal fasciculus, the mean fractional anisotropy values were significantly lower in children affected by cerebral palsy with cognitive-visual deficits than in those without cognitive-visual deficits. Our findings reveal an association between cognitive-visual profile and the superior longitudinal fasciculus integrity in children with cerebral palsy, supporting the hypothesis that visuo-associative deficits are related to changes in fibers connecting the occipital cortex with the parietal-frontal cortices. Decreased fractional anisotropy within the superior longitudinal fasciculus could be considered a biomarker for cognitive-visual dysfunctions.
Galli J, Loi E, Strobio C, Micheletti S, Martelli P, Merabet LB, Pasini N, Semeraro F, Fazzi E, Fazzi E. Neurovisual profile in children affected by Angelman syndrome. Brain Dev 2022;Abstract
BACKGROUND: Angelman syndrome (AS) is a rare neurogenetic disorder caused by altered expression of the maternal copy of the UBE3A gene. Together with motor, cognitive, and speech impairment, ophthalmological findings including strabismus, and ocular fundus hypopigmentation characterize the clinical phenotype. The aim of this study was to detail the neurovisual profile of children affected by AS and to explore any possible genotype-phenotype correlations. METHODS: Thirty-seven children (23 females, mean age 102.8 ± 54.4 months, age range 22 to 251 months) with molecular confirmed diagnosis of AS were enrolled in the study. All underwent a comprehensive video-recorded neurovisual evaluation including the assessment of ophthalmological aspects, oculomotor functions, and basic visual abilities. RESULTS: All children had visual impairments mainly characterized by refractive errors, ocular fundus changes, strabismus, discontinuous/jerky smooth pursuit and altered saccadic movements, and/or reduced visual acuity. Comparing the neurovisual profiles between the deletion and non-deletion genetic subgroups, we found a significant statistical correlation between genotype and ocular fundus hypopigmentation (p = 0.03), discontinuous smooth pursuit (p < 0.05), and contrast sensitivity abnormalities (p < 0.01) being more frequent in the deletion subgroup. CONCLUSIONS: Subjects affected by AS present a wide spectrum of neurovisual impairments that lead to a clinical profile consistent with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). Moreover, subjects with a chromosome deletion show a more severe visual phenotype with respect to ocular fundus changes, smooth pursuit movements, and contrast sensitivity. Early detection of these impaired visual functions may help promote the introduction of neurovisual habilitative programs which can improve children's visual, neuromotor, and cognitive outcomes.
Gamond L, Vecchi T, Ferrari C, Merabet LB, Cattaneo Z. Emotion processing in early blind and sighted individuals. Neuropsychology 2017;31(5):516-524.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Emotion processing is known to be mediated by a complex network of cortical and subcortical regions with evidence of specialized hemispheric lateralization within the brain. In light of prior evidence indicating that lateralization of cognitive functions (such as language) may depend on normal visual development, we investigated whether the lack of prior visual experience would have an impact on the development of specialized hemispheric lateralization in emotional processing. METHOD: We addressed this issue by comparing performance in early blind and sighted controls on a dichotic listening task requiring the detection of specific emotional vocalizations (i.e., suggestive of happiness or sadness) presented independently to either ear. RESULTS: Consistent with previous studies, we found that sighted individuals showed enhanced detection of positive vocalizations when presented in the right ear (i.e., processed within the left hemisphere) and negative vocalizations when presented in the left ear (i.e., right hemisphere). It is interesting to note that although blind individuals were as accurate as sighted controls in detecting the valance of the vocalization, performance was not consistent with any pattern of specialized hemispheric lateralization. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these results suggest that although the lack of prior visual experience may not lead to impaired emotion processing performance, the underlying neurophysiological substrate (i.e., degree of special hemispheric lateralization) may depend on normal visual development. (PsycINFO Database Record
Gise R, Gaier ED, Heidary G. Diagnosis and Imaging of Optic Nerve Head Drusen. Semin Ophthalmol 2019;:1-8.Abstract
The presence of optic nerve swelling in pediatric patients is a frequent cause for referral to pediatric ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists because this finding can be the harbinger of serious neurologic disease including brain tumor, demyelinating disease, infiltrative disease of the optic nerve, or idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Optic nerve head drusen (ONHD) are common and can be particularly difficult to distinguish from true optic nerve swelling in pediatric patients because the ONHD are typically buried beneath the substance of the optic nerve. Correct identification of ONHD is relevant because of the visual morbidity associated with this condition and because of the need to distinguish pseudopapilledema secondary to ONHD from true optic nerve swelling. A variety of imaging modalities may be employed to evaluate for the presence of ONHD, including ultrasound, optical coherence tomography (OCT), enhanced depth imaging-OCT, fluorescein angiography, fundus autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography angiography. To date, there is no consensus as to which of these techniques is most accurate and which should be part of a standardized evaluation for children suspected of ONHD. This review examines the recent literature analyzing these diagnostic tools and summarizes data regarding best practices for identifying ONHD.
Gómez-Laberge C, Smolyanskaya A, Nassi JJ, Kreiman G, Born RT. Bottom-Up and Top-Down Input Augment the Variability of Cortical Neurons. Neuron 2016;91(3):540-7.Abstract

Neurons in the cerebral cortex respond inconsistently to a repeated sensory stimulus, yet they underlie our stable sensory experiences. Although the nature of this variability is unknown, its ubiquity has encouraged the general view that each cell produces random spike patterns that noisily represent its response rate. In contrast, here we show that reversibly inactivating distant sources of either bottom-up or top-down input to cortical visual areas in the alert primate reduces both the spike train irregularity and the trial-to-trial variability of single neurons. A simple model in which a fraction of the pre-synaptic input is silenced can reproduce this reduction in variability, provided that there exist temporal correlations primarily within, but not between, excitatory and inhibitory input pools. A large component of the variability of cortical neurons may therefore arise from synchronous input produced by signals arriving from multiple sources.

Gowrisankaran S, Shah AS, Roberts TL, Wiecek E, Chinn RN, Hawash KK, O'Brien MJ, Howell DR, Meehan WP, Raghuram A. Association between post-concussion symptoms and oculomotor deficits among adolescents. Brain Inj 2021;:1-11.Abstract
PURPOSE: To examine the association between Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) scores, Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS) scores, and oculomotor deficits post-concussion. METHODS: Records of adolescent patients examined in a multidisciplinary concussion clinic between July 2014 and May 2019 were reviewed. PCSS and CISS scores, results of eye examination and oculomotor assessment, concussion history, and demographics were abstracted. RESULTS: One hundred and forty patient records (median age, 15.3 years; 52 males, presented 109 days (median) from their most recent concussion) met inclusion criteria. Mean total scores on PCSS and CISS were 46.67 ± 25.89 and 27.13 ± 13.22, respectively, and were moderately correlated with each other (r = 0.53, p < .001). Oculomotor deficits were observed in 123 (88%) patients. Step-wise linear regression identified increased PCSS total score to be significantly associated with decreased amplitude of accommodation (p < .001). Increased CISS total score was significantly associated with receded near point of convergence, developmental eye movement test error scores, and cause of concussion. CONCLUSION: High PCSS scores may indicate an accommodation deficit and thus prompt an oculomotor assessment in patients following a concussion. Using the CISS and a detailed oculomotor assessment may reveal underlying oculomotor deficits, which may benefit from treatment.
Grob SR, Campbell AA, Gross A, Cestari DM. Hemorrhage Within the Optic Nerve From a Cavernous Hemangioma of the Optic Disc. J Neuroophthalmol 2015;35(3):277-9.Abstract

A 49-year-old woman with a known right optic disc cavernous hemangioma experienced pain with eye movements and worsening of a superior visual field defect. While she retained 20/20 visual acuity in each eye, findings on magnetic resonance imaging were consistent with a hemorrhage in the anterior portion of the right intraorbital optic nerve. Her visual function stabilized spontaneously. We are unaware of previous reports of hemorrhage into the optic nerve from a cavernous hemangioma of the optic disc.

Grzybowski A, Stacy RC. Temporal Artery Biopsy in Giant Cell Arteritis. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015;133(10):1220.
Gu P, Fan T, Wong SSC, Pan Z, Tai WL, Chung SK, Cheung CW. Central Endothelin-1 Confers Analgesia by Triggering Spinal Neuronal Histone Deacetylase 5 (HDAC5) Nuclear Exclusion in Peripheral Neuropathic Pain in Mice. J Pain 2021;22(4):454-471.Abstract
The rationale of spinal administration of endothelin-1(ET-1) mediated anti-nociceptive effect has not been elucidated. ET-1 is reported to promote nuclear effluxion of histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5) in myocytes, and spinal HDAC5 is implicated in modulation of pain processing. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether central ET-1 plays an anti-nociceptive role by facilitating spinal HDAC5 nuclear shuttling under neuropathic pain. Here, we demonstrate that upregulating spinal ET-1 attenuated the nociception induced by partial sciatic nerve ligation surgery and this analgesic effect mediated by ET-1 was attenuated by intrathecal injection of endothelin A receptor selective inhibitor (BQ123) or by blocking the exportation of nuclear HDAC5 by adeno-associated viruses targeting neuronal HDAC5 (AVV-HDAC5 S259/498A Mutant). Notably, ET-1 administration increased spinal glutamate acid decarboxylases (GAD65/67) expression via initiating HDAC5 nuclear exportation and increased the acetylation of histone 3 at lysine 9 (Acetyl-H3K9) in the promotor regions of spinal Gad1 and Gad2 genes. This was reversed by blocking endothelin A receptor function or by inhibiting the spinal neuronal nuclear exportation of HDAC5. Therefore, inducing spinal GABAergic neuronal HDAC5 nuclear exportation may be a novel therapeutic approach for managing neuropathic pain. PERSPECTIVE: Neuropathic pain is intractable in a clinical setting, and epigenetic regulation is considered to contribute to this processing. Characterizing the anti-nociceptive effect of ET-1 and investigating the associated epigenetic mechanisms in animal models may lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies and targets for treating neuropathic pain.
Gupta M, Leskov I, Kruger JM, Cestari DM. Intermittent Horner syndrome in a pediatric patient. J Neuroophthalmol 2014;34(2):149-50.Abstract
Intermittent Horner syndrome is uncommon in both the adult and pediatric population. We describe a case of a pediatric patient with an intermittent Horner syndrome. Infrared photography and videography were used to help establish the diagnosis.
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Hamrah P, Sahin A, Oaklander AL. Widespread effects of clinically unilateral focal nerve injuries. Pain 2017;158(6):1175-1176.
Harrar DB, Solomon J, Shah AS, Vaughn J, Durbin AD, Rivkin MJ. Diffusion-Weighted Imaging Changes in a Child With Posterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Pediatr Neurol 2018;84:49-52.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Posterior ischemic optic neuropathy results from ischemia of the retrobulbar aspect of the optic nerve. It presents as acute loss of vision without optic disc swelling. This is rare in children, with only seven cases reported to date. Neuroimaging is frequently used to aid in the diagnosis of acute visual complaints in children; however, none of the cases described to date delineate the neuroimaging findings of this entity in children. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical record. RESULTS: We describe the MRI findings in a 10-month-old boy with posterior ischemic optic neuropathy after intraophthalmic artery injection of chemotherapy for retinoblastoma. CONCLUSIONS: As targeted therapies for retinoblastoma and other diseases amenable to intravascular treatment delivery are more frequently used, the risk of grave vision-related side effects increases. Posterior ischemic optic neuropathy should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any child presenting with acute loss of vision. Dedicated imaging of the orbits can elucidate specific findings that may aid in the diagnosis of this entity in children.

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