Perioperative Vision Loss in Spine Surgery and Other Orthopaedic Procedures

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Abstract

Perioperative vision loss is a rare complication of orthopaedic surgery and has been documented after spine, knee, hip, and shoulder procedures. It is associated with several ophthalmologic diagnoses, most commonly ischemic optic neuropathy. Although the pathophysiology remains unclear, current evidence suggests that systemic hemodynamic compromise and altered balance of intraocular perfusion contribute to the development of ischemic optic neuropathy. Although vision recovery has been reported, the prognosis of perioperative vision loss is poor, and no proven effective treatment is available. Perioperative vision loss is unpredictable and can occur in healthy patients. Associated risk factors include pediatric or elderly age, male sex, obesity, anemia, hypotension or hypertension, perioperative blood loss, prolonged surgical time, and prone positioning. Preventive strategies include avoiding direct pressure to the eye, elevating the head, optimizing perioperative hemodynamic status, and minimizing surgical time with staged surgical procedures as appropriate.

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