Symptomatic and asymptomatic visual loss in patients taking vigabatrin

Ophthalmology. 1999 Sep;106(9):1792-8. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(99)90345-7.


Purpose: To investigate the clinical, perimetric, and electrophysiologic findings in patients with visual field loss on long-term treatment with the antiepileptic medication vigabatrin.

Design: Consecutive observational case series.

Participants: Forty-one consecutive subjects taking vigabatrin referred for screening ophthalmologic assessment were studied. Twelve subjects with evidence of peripheral visual field constriction are presented.

Methods: Twelve subjects with evidence of peripheral visual field constriction on 60-4 perimetry underwent central 30-2 and blue-on-yellow (B/Y) perimetry, as well as electroretinography (ERG), electro-oculography (EOG), and visual-evoked potential (VEP) testing.

Main outcome measures: Visual acuity; fundus abnormalities; visual field loss; and ERG, EOG, or VEP abnormalities were the main outcome measures.

Results: Eight of the 12 subjects with constricted visual fields were asymptomatic. The central 30-2 perimetry demonstrated bilateral visual field constriction in 9 of 12 patients and the B/Y perimetry in 8 of 9 patients tested. Of the ten patients tested electrophysiologically, four had abnormal ERGs, five had abnormal EOGs, and three had delayed VEPs.

Conclusions: The incidence of visual field constriction in patients taking vigabatrin may be higher, and asymptomatic visual field loss more common, than reported previously. The authors postulate a possible Muller cell dysfunction in the peripheral retina. Patients taking vigabatrin should have regular peripheral visual field examinations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminobutyrate Transaminase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Electrooculography
  • Electroretinography
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vigabatrin
  • Vision Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Visual Fields / drug effects*
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / adverse effects
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • 4-Aminobutyrate Transaminase
  • Vigabatrin