Objective: To report the occurrence of anterior ischemic optic neuropathy as a complication of treatment with interferon alfa and to consider the possible underlying mechanisms for this association.
Design: Description of the clinical findings in two patients with this condition.
Setting: A neuro-ophthalmology referral center.
Patients: Two patients, ages 40 and 51 years, undergoing treatment with interferon alfa for malignant neoplasms experienced sudden bilateral, sequential visual loss with disc-related field defects and segmental optic disc edema.
Interventions: Treatment with aspirin and prednisone in one patient.
Main outcome measures: Visual acuity, color vision, Goldmann perimetry testing, and fundus photography.
Results: Visual loss was mild and generally nonprogressive. The interval between initiating treatment with interferon alfa and onset of anterior ischemic optic neuropathy was similar to that of interferon-associated vascular retinopathy.
Conclusion: Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy may complicate treatment with interferon alfa. The underlying pathogenesis is probably multifactorial.