Acute Visual Field Defect following Vitrectomy Determined to Originate from Optic Nerve by Electrophysiological Tests

Case Rep Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;3(3):396-405. doi: 10.1159/000345507. Epub 2012 Sep 20.


Purpose: To present our findings on the cause of an acute visual field defect (VFD) that developed in a patient on the day after vitrectomy for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Case: A 50-year-old man complained of a blind area in the superior visual field that developed one day after vitrectomy. The patient had undergone uncomplicated vitrectomy for a long-duration vitreous hemorrhage associated with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Residual vitreous hemorrhage hampered a clear view of the fundus. Goldmann perimetry showed a horizontal VFD in the superior field. The area corresponding to the VFD was examined by multifocal electroretinograms (mfERGs) and multifocal visual evoked potentials (mfVEPs). The amplitudes of the mfVEPs were reduced with prolonged implicit times especially when the superior hemifield was stimulated, while the amplitudes and implicit times were within the normal range when other parts of the visual field were stimulated. In addition, the full-field photopic ERGs and photopic negative responses were attenuated in the right eye. These findings suggested that the VFD did not originate from alterations in the retinal inner and middle layer but in the ganglion cells. The visual acuity improved to 1.2 but his optic disc became pale and the VFD remained unchanged more than 12 years after the surgery.

Conclusion: We suggest that vitrectomy can cause ischemic optic neuropathy by interfering with the circulation associated with diabetes mellitus. Evaluations by mfERGs, mfVEPs, and full-field photopic ERGs were helpful in making the diagnosis.

Keywords: Ischemic optic neuropathy; Multifocal electroretinogram; Multifocal visual evoked potentials; Photopic negative response; Proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports