Traumatic Optic Neuropathy: A Potentially Unrecognized Diagnosis after Sports-Related Concussion

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2016 Jan-Feb;15(1):27-32. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000223.


Traumatic optic neuropathy is a rare cause of visual disturbance after head injury that can be difficult to distinguish from coexisting vestibulo-ocular dysfunction because of the overlap in presenting symptoms in patients with these conditions. We present a case report of a 13-year-old girl who sustained a head injury during a ringette game leading to blurred vision and diplopia persisting 5 months after injury. Clinical history and physical examination findings were consistent with a traumatic optic neuropathy, convergence insufficiency, and postconcussion syndrome. Neuroimaging was normal. The patient was managed using a multidisciplinary approach. At 6 months of follow-up, neuro-ophthalmological examination demonstrated evidence of permanent partial optic nerve injury, and formal neuropsychological testing fell primarily within normal limits. The patient was advised to retire from collision sports. The authors discuss the value of a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and management of concussion patients presenting with persistent visual symptoms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Hockey / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Optic Nerve Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Optic Nerve Injuries / etiology*