Neuroimaging in neuro-ophthalmology

Ophthalmology. 1989 Apr;96(4):555-68. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(89)32877-6.


Computed tomographic scanning is an excellent modality for evaluation of most orbital and intracranial tumors and strokes. However, MR scanning is definitely superior to CT when evaluating for multiple sclerosis, posterior fossa lesions (evaluation of gaze palsies, internuclear ophthalmoplegia, and downbeat nystagmus), or when assessing an area where sagittal scanning is important (chiasmal lesions). Magnetic resonance has increased specificity when the CT is equivocal. Although MR and CT may be complementary in the information they provide, many clinical studies have shown MR to be superior to CT in evaluating cerebral infarctions, hematomas, the intracanalicular optic nerve, optic chiasm, sella turcica, and the cavernous sinus. Magnetic resonance generally has replaced metrizamide CT cisternography as the procedure of choice for evaluating the suprasellar cistern and posterior fossa. Computed tomography is still preferable for major trauma, especially involving acute fractures and hematomas, although MR is more sensitive to the more subtle intracerebral lesions, such as shear injuries and subdural hematomas, that may provide prognostic information. Computed tomography also is preferred in situations where detecting small amounts of calcification is important for the differential diagnosis. As the development of MR imaging continues with faster scan times, finer spatial resolution, the use of paramagnetic contrast agents, and with increased availability and decreased cost, MR imaging may become preferable to CT as the imaging modality of choice for the CNS and orbit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Eye Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Optic Chiasm / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed