MR of vasculitis-induced optic neuropathy

Evelyn M.L. Sklar, Norman J. Schatz, Joel S. Glaser, M. Judith Donovan Post, Martin Ten Hove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To describe the MR characteristics of optic neuropathy caused by vasculitis. METHODS: Nine cases of optic neuropathy with diagnosis of vasculitis (six with systemic lupus erythematosis and one each with rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren disease, and radiation vasculitis) were reviewed retrospectively. Patients were 31 to 62 years old, and all but one were women. All patients had MR imaging through the orbits and anterior visual pathways, five with fat suppression, with and without gadopentetate dimeglumine. Five patients also had MR imaging of the entire brain. The size and enhancement of various segments of the optic nerve and anterior visual pathways were studied. RESULTS: MR imaging with contrast material showed enhancement and enlargement of segments of the optic nerves and/or chiasm in six of the nine patients (all but three with systemic lupus erythematosis). Enlargement of a segment of the anterior visual pathway never occurred without enhancement, but enhancement alone did occur in three cases. Of the five patients who had MR imaging of the whole brain, abnormalities were seen in three: periventricular hyperintensity in two and a lacunar infarct in one; none had vessel abnormalities. CONCLUSION: Because the MR enhancement seen represents disruption of the blood-brain barrier within the optic nerve, MR imaging with gadopentetate dimeglumine and fat suppression should be performed to detect increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier in acute optic neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 1996


  • Eyes, magnetic resonance
  • Nerves, optic (II)
  • Neuropathy
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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