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Perioperative ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) causes visual loss in spinal fusion. Previous case–control studies are limited by study size and lack of a random sample. The purpose of this study was to study trends in ION incidence in spinal fusion and risk factors in a large nationwide administrative hospital database.In the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for 1998 to 2012, procedure codes for posterior thoracic, lumbar, or sacral spine fusion and diagnostic codes for ION were identified. ION was studied over five 3-yr periods (1998 to 2000, 2001 to 2003, 2004 to 2006, 2007 to 2009, and 2010 to 2012). National estimates were obtained using trend weights in a statistical survey procedure. Univariate and Poisson logistic regression assessed trends and risk factors.The nationally estimated volume of thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spinal fusion from 1998 to 2012 was 2,511,073. ION was estimated to develop in 257 patients (1.02/10,000). The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for ION significantly decreased between 1998 and 2012 (IRR, 0.72 per 3 yr; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.88; P = 0.002). There was no significant change in the incidence of retinal artery occlusion. Factors significantly associated with ION were age (IRR, 1.24 per 10 yr of age; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.45; P = 0.009), transfusion (IRR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.38 to 5.37; P = 0.004), and obesity (IRR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.09 to 5.66; P = 0.030). Female sex was protective (IRR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.56; P = 0.0002).Perioperative ION in spinal fusion significantly decreased from 1998 to 2012 by about 2.7-fold. Aging, male sex, transfusion, and obesity significantly increased the risk.