Background: The management of traumatic optic neuropathy remains controversial. This retrospective study presents the results of 19 cases of indirect optic neuropathy where surgical decompression represented the primary mode of treatment.
Methods: Nineteen patients (20 optic nerves) with traumatic optic neuropathy underwent primary surgical decompression. The surgery was performed using the transethmoidal technique.
Results: The extent of bony optic canal injury documented during surgery indicated that this had been underestimated in this series by CT findings. Vision improved in eight patients, five of whom had had no light perception preoperatively.
Conclusion: Primary surgical decompression of the optic nerve within 48 h of injury produces beneficial results. Testing of visual acuity 6 weeks after surgery does not serve as a reliable predictor of final outcome.