Neuro-ophthalmology

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.
Pamir Z, Bauer CM, Bennett CR, Kran BS, Merabet LB. Visual perception supported by verbal mediation in an individual with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). Neuropsychologia 2021;160:107982.Abstract
Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) often presents with deficits associated with higher order visual processing. We report a case of an individual with CVI who uses a verbal mediation strategy to perceive and interact with his visual surroundings. Visual perceptual performance was assessed using a virtual reality based visual search task combined with eye tracking. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was employed to identify the neural correlates associated with this strategy. We found that when using verbal mediation, the individual could readily detect and track the target within the visual scene which was associated with robust activation within a network of occipito-parieto-temporal visual cortical areas. In contrast, when not using verbal mediation, the individual was completely unable to perform the task, and this was associated with dramatically reduced visual cortical activation. This unique compensatory strategy may be related to the individual's use of verbal working memory for the purposes of understanding complex visual information.
Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Reinshagen KL, Chwalisz BK. Case 292: Lyme Neuroborreliosis. Radiology 2021;300(2):484-488.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.
Bouffard MA, M Mallery R, Liao YJ, Torun N. Variation in Evolving Optic Neuritis. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(4):476-479.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The typical natural history of optic neuritis is subjected to important exceptions. Recognition of these exceptions has led to valuable insights regarding specific etiologies of optic neuritis. Exceptions to the natural history of recovering optic neuritis are well-defined (e.g., chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuropathy), but exceptions to the natural history of evolving optic neuritis are less so. METHODS: Medical records of patients illustrating an atypical course of evolving optic neuritis were reviewed in a retrospective manner. Each patient was treated by at least one of the authors. RESULTS: Four patients were identified who illustrated an atypical natural history of incipient optic neuritis. Diagnoses included idiopathic optic neuritis, seropositive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disease, anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disease, and multiple sclerosis in 1 patient each. Features of interest included an atypical temporal relationship between development of pain and onset of clinical optic neuropathy, an unusually protracted duration of pain, and an unusually long duration of worsening optic neuropathy before stabilization. CONCLUSIONS: This case series illustrates the substantial clinical heterogeneity which may be observed in the evolution of optic neuritis. The temporal relationship between development of pain and onset of clinical optic neuropathy, the duration of pain, and duration of worsening optic neuropathy before stabilization are all subjected to significant variability. Although most patients with optic neuritis present with painful vision loss which progresses over 1 week or less, careful attention to the exceptions described herein may facilitate earlier recognition of diagnostically challenging cases.
Tisdale AK, Dinkin M, Chwalisz BK. Afferent and Efferent Neuro-Ophthalmic Complications of Coronavirus Disease 19. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):154-165.Abstract
PURPOSE: To provide a summary of the neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) documented in the literature thus far. METHODS: The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched using the keywords: Neuro-Ophthalmology, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and coronavirus. A manual search through reference lists of relevant articles was also performed. RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: The literature on COVID-associated neuro-ophthalmic disease continues to grow. Afferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include optic neuritis, papillophlebitis, papilledema, visual disturbance associated with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, and vision loss caused by stroke. Efferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include cranial neuropathies, Miller Fisher syndrome, Adie's pupils, ocular myasthenia gravis, nystagmus and eye movement disorders. Proposed mechanisms of neurologic disease include immunologic upregulation, vasodilation and vascular permeability, endothelial dysfunction, coagulopathy, and direct viral neurotropism. When patients present to medical centers with new onset neuro-ophthalmic conditions during the pandemic, COVID-19 infection should be kept on the differential.
Schoemaker D, Velilla L, Zuluaga Y, Baena A, Ospina C, Bocanegra Y, Alvarez S, Ochoa-Escudero M, Guzmán-Vélez E, Martinez J, Lopera F, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Quiroz YT. Global Cardiovascular Risk Profile and Cerebrovascular Abnormalities in Presymptomatic Individuals with CADASIL or Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer's Disease. J Alzheimers Dis 2021;Abstract
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular risk factors increase the risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. OBJECTIVE: Studying individuals with autosomal dominant mutations leading to the early onset of dementia, this study examines the effect of the global cardiovascular risk profile on early cognitive and neuroimaging features of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. METHODS: We studied 85 non-demented and stroke-free individuals, including 20 subjects with Presenilin1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation leading to the early onset of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD), 20 subjects with NOTCH3 mutations leading to cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) and to the early onset of vascular dementia, and 45 non-affected family members (non-carriers). All subjects underwent clinical and neuropsychological evaluations and an MRI. The global cardiovascular risk profile was estimated using the office-based Framingham Cardiovascular Risk Profile (FCRP) score. RESULTS: In individuals with CADASIL, a higher FCRP score was associated with a reduced hippocampal volume (B = -0.06, p <  0.05) and an increased severity of cerebral microbleeds (B = 0.13, p <  0.001), lacunes (B = 0.30, p <  0.001), and perivascular space enlargement in the basal ganglia (B = 0.50, p <  0.05). There was no significant association between the FCRP score and neuroimaging measures in ADAD or non-carrier subjects. While the FCRP score was related to performance in executive function in non-carrier subjects (B = 0.06, p <  0.05), it was not significantly associated with cognitive performance in individuals with CADASIL or ADAD. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that individuals with CADASIL and other forms of vascular cognitive impairment might particularly benefit from early interventions aimed at controlling cardiovascular risks.
Singh RB, Gupta P, Kartik A, Farooqui N, Singhal S, Shergill S, Singh KP, Agarwal A. Ocular Manifestations of Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(7):582-595.Abstract
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a group of rare neurodegenerative storage disorders associated with devastating visual prognosis, with an incidence of 1/1,000,000 in the United States and comparatively higher incidence in European countries. The pathophysiological mechanisms causing NCLs occur due to enzymatic or transmembrane defects in various sub-cellular organelles including lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasmic vesicles. NCLs are categorized into different types depending upon the underlying cause i.e., soluble lysosomal enzyme deficiencies or non-enzymatic deficiencies (functions of identified proteins), which are sub-divided based on an axial classification system. In this review, we have evaluated the current evidence in the literature and reported the incidence rates, underlying mechanisms and currently available management protocols for these rare set of neuroophthalmological disorders. Additionally, we also highlighted the potential therapies under development that can expand the treatment of these rare disorders beyond symptomatic relief.
Whitmore HAB, Kim LA. Understanding the Role of Blood Vessels in the Neurologic Manifestations of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Am J Pathol 2021;191(11):1946-1954.Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was originally identified as an outbreak in Wuhan, China, toward the end of 2019 and quickly became a global pandemic, with a large death toll. Originally identified as a respiratory disease, similar to previously discovered SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), concern has since been raised about the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the vasculature. This viral-vascular involvement is of particular concern with regards to the small vessels present in the brain, with mounting evidence demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. Severe symptoms, termed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), often result in neurologic complications, regardless of patient age. These neurologic complications range from mild to severe across all demographics; however, the long-term repercussions of neurologic involvement on patient health are still unknown.
Nguyen HV, Gilbert AL, Fortin E, Vodopivec I, Torun N, Chwalisz BK, Cestari DM, Rizzo JF. Elevated Intracranial Pressure Associated With Exogenous Hormonal Therapy Used for Gender Affirmation. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):217-223.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Addison disease, corticosteroid withdrawal, and taking synthetic growth hormone have been linked with development of intracranial hypertension, but there is still debate on whether administration of other exogenous hormones plays a role in precipitating elevated pressure. The growing use of hormonal therapy for gender affirmation provides an opportunity to explore this possibility. METHODS: All transgender patients taking exogenous hormones for female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) transitions who were diagnosed with intracranial hypertension at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center between August 2014 and November 2018 were included in a retrospective review. Visual acuity, type, and dose of exogenous hormone, visual field testing, clinical exam, results of neuroimaging and lumbar puncture, and treatment modalities were catalogued and analyzed. RESULTS: Six transgender individuals were identified. Five were FTM, with an average hormone treatment time of 18.4 months, and one was MTF who had been treated with hormones for 4 years. The average age of all patients was 23.5 years. The average time between onset of symptoms and presentation was 5 months. Fifty percent of the patients reported pulse-synchronous tinnitus, 83% reported positional headache, 33% reported transient visual obscurations, and 16% reported diplopia. Lumbar punctures performed on 4 of the patients revealed elevated opening pressures and normal cerebrospinal fluid constituents. MRI findings consistent with elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) were present in the other 2 patients in whom lumbar puncture was unsuccessful. Four patients were treated with acetazolamide and one was treated with topiramate, with an average follow-up time of 15.7 months. All patients demonstrated bilateral optic disc swelling, and all maintained normal acuity and color vision. Performance on visual field testing was not significantly affected in any patient. CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest reported series to date of gender-transitioning patients with intracranial hypertension, including one novel MTF conversion. These observations warrant further investigation into the possible link of exogenous hormonal therapy and elevated ICP and any mechanisms or confounders underlying this potential association.
Maallo AMS, Moulton EA, Sieberg CB, Giddon DB, Borsook D, Holmes SA. A lateralized model of the pain-depression dyad. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2021;127:876-883.Abstract
Chronic pain and depression are two frequently co-occurring and debilitating conditions. Even though the former is treated as a physical affliction, and the latter as a mental illness, both disorders closely share neural substrates. Here, we review the association of pain with depression, especially when symptoms are lateralized on either side of the body. We also explore the overlapping regions in the forebrain implicated in these conditions. Finally, we synthesize these findings into a model, which addresses gaps in our understanding of comorbid pain and depression. Our lateralized pain-depression dyad model suggests that individuals diagnosed with depression should be closely monitored for pain symptoms in the left hemibody. Conversely, for patients in pain, with the exception of acute pain with a known source, referrals in today's pain centers for psychological evaluation should be part of standard practice, within the framework of an interdisciplinary approach to pain treatment.
Xiong J, Yu C, Su T, Ge Q-M, Shi W-Q, Tang L-Y, Shu H-Y, Pan Y-C, Liang R-B, Li Q-Y, Shao Y. Altered brain network centrality in patients with mild cognitive impairment: an fMRI study using a voxel-wise degree centrality approach. Aging (Albany NY) 2021;13(11):15491-15500.Abstract
PURPOSE: Previous studies in patients with Alzheimer's disease have shown amyloid beta accumulation in the brain and abnormal brain activity, with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in early stages of the disease. The aim of the current study was to investigate functional connectivity in patients with MCI. METHODS: We recruited 24 subjects in total, including 12 patients with MCI (6 men and 6 women) and 12 healthy controls (HCs) (6 men and 6 women), matched for age, gender, and lifestyle factors. All subjects underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans and voxel-wise degree centrality (DC) was used to evaluate alterations in the strength of brain network connectivity. RESULTS: The DC value of the left inferior temporal gyrus was lower in MCI but significantly higher in the right fusiform gyrus and the left supplementary motor area, compared with HCs. The DC value in left inferior temporal gyrus correlated positively with disease duration and negatively with Mini-Mental State Examination. ROC curve analysis of brain regions showed acceptable specificity and accuracy of DC values between MCIs and HCs in the area under the curve (right fusiform gyrus, 0.955; left supplementary motor area, 0.992; left inferior temporal gyrus, 1.000). CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal functional connectivity in brain regions of patients with MCI may reflect the pathological process of Alzheimer's disease development and could prove useful in clinical diagnosis and treatment.
Diel RJ, Mehra D, Kardon R, Buse DC, Moulton E, Galor A. Photophobia: shared pathophysiology underlying dry eye disease, migraine and traumatic brain injury leading to central neuroplasticity of the trigeminothalamic pathway. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(6):751-760.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Photophobia is a potentially debilitating symptom often found in dry eye disease (DE), migraine and traumatic brain injury (TBI). METHODS: We conducted a review of the literature via a PubMed search of English language articles with a focus on how photophobia may relate to a shared pathophysiology across DE, migraine and TBI. RESULTS: DE, migraine and TBI are common conditions in the general population, are often comorbid, and share photophobia as a symptom. Across the three conditions, neural dysregulation of peripheral and central nervous system components is implicated in photophobia in various animal models and in humans. Enhanced activity of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is closely linked to photophobia. Current therapies for photophobia include glasses which shield the eyes from specific wavelengths, botulinum toxin, and inhibition of CGRP and its receptor. Many individuals have persistent photophobia despite the use of these therapies, and thus, development of new therapies is needed. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of photophobia in DE, migraine and TBI suggests shared trigeminothalamic pathophysiologic mechanisms, as explained by central neuroplasticity and hypersensitivity mediated by neuropeptide CGRP. Treatment strategies which target neural pathways (ie, oral neuromodulators, transcutaneous nerve stimulation) should be considered in patients with persistent photophobia, specifically in individuals with DE whose symptoms are not controlled with traditional therapies.
Olson HE, Costantini JG, Swanson LC, Kaufmann WE, Benke TA, Fulton AB, Hansen R, Poduri A, Heidary G. Cerebral visual impairment in CDKL5 deficiency disorder: vision as an outcome measure. Dev Med Child Neurol 2021;63(11):1308-1315.Abstract
AIM: To characterize the neuro-ophthalmological phenotype of cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 (CDKL5) deficiency disorder (CDD) and assess visual acuity as a reproducible, quantitative outcome measure. METHOD: We retrospectively analyzed clinical data from patients with CDD. Complete neuro-ophthalmological assessments, including visual acuity, were evaluated. RESULTS: Of 26 patients (22 females, four males; median age 4y, interquartile range 2y 1mo-7y 10mo), cerebral visual impairment (CVI), defined as visual dysfunction in the absence of ocular or anterior visual pathway abnormalities, was diagnosed in all those over 2 years of age. Ophthalmological examinations revealed nystagmus in 10 patients and strabismus in 24 patients. Visual acuity was measured in 24 patients, by preferential looking in all and by sweep visual evoked potential in 13. Visual acuities were lower than age expectations and demonstrated improvement in the first 3 years. Adjusting for age and sex, average preferential looking visual acuity after 2 years of age was higher in patients with intact mobility than in those who were non-mobile. INTERPRETATION: CVI was observed in patients with CDD. Visual acuity improved over time and correlated with mobility. Visual acuity, as a quantifiable measure of visual function, should be considered as an outcome measure in pre-clinical and clinical studies for CDD. What this paper adds Cerebral visual impairment is highly prevalent in cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 deficiency disorder (CDD). Visual acuity is a measurable quantitative outcome measure in CDD. Visual acuity in CDD correlates with gross motor ability.

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