Dysthyroid optic neuropathy. The crowded orbital apex syndrome

Ophthalmology. 1988 Nov;95(11):1515-21. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(88)32978-7.


The authors have reviewed the clinical presentation, visual fields, color vision testing, visual-evoked potentials, and computed tomographic (CT) findings of 58 patients (95 eyes) with dysthyroid optic neuropathy. The authors compared these findings to a control group of 60 patients (119 eyes) with thyroid eye disease who underwent CT scanning and did not exhibit evidence of optic neuropathy. Clinically, dysthyroid optic neuropathy is an insidious disease; when compared with the usual Graves' orbitopathy patient, the optic neuropathy group presented at a later age and with a later onset of thyroid eye disease. The patients in this group were more likely to be male and/or diabetic, and often presented with desaturation of color vision. Asymmetrical extraocular muscle restriction and vertical tropias were more frequent in the optic neuropathy group. The most sensitive indicators of optic nerve dysfunction appeared to be visual-evoked potentials and color vision. Computed tomographic studies confirmed that apical orbital crowding was a characteristic feature of optic neuropathy. These findings should alert the clinician to a more aggressive approach to these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology
  • Orbit / diagnostic imaging
  • Syndrome
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vision, Ocular