Nutritional amblyopia. A histopathologic study with retrospective clinical correlation

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1987;225(5):321-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02153397.


During a 10-year period ending in 1985, we observed atrophy of the maculopapillary bundle in both eyes of 25 cases examined post mortem. We retrospectively examined the clinical history and general autopsy findings for evidence of malnutrition. An adequate clinical history was obtained in 24 patients, and an autopsy was performed on 21 patients. Our review disclosed that all 25 patients had marked nutritional deprivation, most commonly from alcohol abuse (20 patients), advanced carcinoma (8 patients, 7 of whom were also alcohol abusers), and other malnutritional and disabling conditions (4 patients). A history of heavy smoking was documented in 11 patients. Our findings support the contention that dietary deficiency plays a role in the pathogenesis of the condition that in the past has been referred to as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia and more recently has been called nutritional amblyopia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Amblyopia / etiology*
  • Amblyopia / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking*