Neuro-Ophthalmic Emergencies for the Neurologist

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Abstract

A variety of acute neurologic disorders present with visual signs and symptoms. In this review the authors focus on those disorders in which the clinical outcome is dependent on timely and accurate diagnosis. The first section deals with acute visual loss, specifically optic neuritis, ischemic optic neuropathy (ION), retinal artery occlusion, and homonymous hemianopia. The authors include a discussion of those clinical features that are helpful in distinguishing between inflammatory and ischemic optic nerve disease and between arteritic and nonarteritic ION. The second section concerns disc edema with an emphasis on the prevention of visual loss in patients with increased intracranial pressure. The third section deals with abnormal ocular motility, and includes orbital inflammatory disease, carotid–cavernous fistulas, painful ophthalmoplegia, conjugate gaze palsies, and neuromuscular junction disorders. The final section concerns pupillary abnormalities, with a particular emphasis on the dilated pupil and on carotid artery dissection. Throughout there are specific guidelines for the management of these disorders, and areas are highlighted in which there is ongoing controversy.

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