Twenty three patients with traumatic optic neuropathy were managed by medical and surgical treatment as follows. High dose intravenous steroids were initiated in all patients. If visions did not improve significantly after 24 to 48 hours decompression of an optic nerve sheath haematoma by medial orbitotomy and neurosurgical decompression of the optic canal were considered based on computed tomographic scan findings. Nine of 16 patients who received steroids only showed significant improvement. One of three showed improvement on optic nerve decompression after steroid failure; three or four showed improvement on optic nerve decompression after steroid failure; three or four showed improvement with combined optic nerve sheath decompression by the medial orbitotomy and decompression of the optic canal by frontal craniotomy. A lucid interval of vision after injury and an enlarged optic nerve sheath were associated with an improved prognosis. Five of the 23 patients had a lucid interval and all five had a final improved vision, while only five of 18 patients without a lucid interval improved. Similarly seven of the nine with an enlarged optic nerve sheath showed improvement while only three of 10 patients (three bilateral cases) who presented with no light perception improved with medical and surgical treatment. While a prospective controlled study of the management of traumatic optic neuropathy is necessary this preliminary study suggests that treatment of traumatic optic nerve sheath haematoma by optic nerve sheath decompression should be considered in selected patients.
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