Anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy is a stroke syndrome of the distal optic nerve, characterised by disc oedema and optic nerve dysfunction--loss of central vision, loss of colour vision, a relative afferent pupillary defect, and nerve fibre layer field loss. We prospectively evaluated the changes of intraocular pressure throughout the day in 16 patients with non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy and 15 normal control subjects of similar age and race. The peak intraocular pressure exceeded 21 mm Hg in five of the ischaemic optic neuropathy patients but none of the controls. The mean peak intraocular pressure was 19.9 mm Hg for the ischaemic optic neuropathy group versus 17.6 mm Hg for controls (p = 0.034). The range of intraocular pressure was also greater for the ischaemic optic neuropathy group (p = 0.030). Eight of 16 ischaemic optic neuropathy patients had a range of intraocular pressure of 6 mm Hg or more, compared with three of 15 control subjects. The intraocular pressure exceeded 21 mm Hg during a subsequent visit in two additional patients in whom the hourly determined intraocular pressure peaked at less than 21 mm Hg. Thus, seven of 16 of our ischaemic optic neuropathy group had an intraocular pressure exceeding 21 mm Hg during the study period. Raised intraocular pressure may be a predisposing factor in some patients who develop anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy.
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