Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy secondary to interferon alfa

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995 Aug;113(8):1041-4. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1995.01100080093034.


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / therapy
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects*
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Ischemia / chemically induced*
  • Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Optic Nerve / blood supply*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / drug therapy
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Vision Disorders / chemically induced
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Fields


  • Interferon-alpha
  • Aspirin
  • Prednisone