Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NA-AION): A Comprehensive Overview

Vision (Basel). 2023 Nov 9;7(4):72. doi: 10.3390/vision7040072.


Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION) represents one of the most important causes of blindness or severely impaired vision in middle-aged and elderly people. Unilateral optic disc edema and abrupt, painless vision loss are its defining features. It is commonly assumed that NA-AION is caused by an ischemic infarction of the optic nerve head, and, although the exact pathogenesis is still unknown, several risk factors and comorbidities associated with its development have been found. NA-AION occurs generally in patients older than 50 years who have small optic discs and vasculopathy risk factors. Even though numerous treatment options have been proposed, no available effective medical or surgical therapy or prophylactic measure for NA-AION currently exists. The purpose of present-day therapeutic strategies is therefore to identify and possibly control any underlying modifiable risk factors, aiming to prevent the development of new NA-AION episodes in the affected and fellow eye. A thorough assessment of NAION, including its history, epidemiology, etiology, pathophysiology, risk factors, associated comorbidities, clinical findings, diagnostic tests, treatment choices, prognosis, and future research, is the goal of this work.

Keywords: NA-AION pathophysiology; NA-AION risk factors; NA-AION treatment options; ischemic optic neuropathy (ION); non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NA-AION).

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.