Optical coherence tomography angiography in acute arteritic and non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2017 Nov;255(11):2255-2261. doi: 10.1007/s00417-017-3774-y. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Purpose: The purpose of our study was to describe the feature of acute non-arteritic or arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION and A-AION) using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) and to compare it with fluorescein angiography (FA) and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA).

Methods: In this retrospective, observational case-control study four NA-AION patients and one A-AION patient were examined by FA, ICGA and OCT-A within 2 weeks from disease presentation. The characteristics of the images were analyzed. Optic nerve head (ONH) and radial peripapillary capillaries (RPC) vessel densities (VDs) were compared between NA-AION and controls.

Results: In two of four NA-AION cases and in the A-AION patient, OCT-A clearly identified the boundary of the ischemic area at the level of the optic nerve head, which was comparable to optic disc filling defects detected by FA. In the other two NA-AION cases, a generalized leakage from the disc was visible with FA, yet OCT-A still demonstrated sectorial peripapillary capillary network reduction. Both ONH and RPC VDs were reduced in NA-AION patients, when compared to controls.

Conclusions: OCT-A was able to identify microvascular defects and VD reduction in cases of acute optic disc edema due to NA-AION and A-AION. OCT-A provides additional information in ischemic conditions of the optic nerve head.

Keywords: A-AION; Arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy; Fluorescein angiography; NA-AION; Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy; OCT-A;optical coherence tomography angiography; Vessel density.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arteritis / complications*
  • Arteritis / diagnosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microvessels / pathology
  • Optic Disk / blood supply
  • Optic Disk / pathology*
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / diagnosis*
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / etiology
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*