B-mode transorbital ultrasononography for the diagnosis of acute optic neuritis. A systematic review

Piergiorgio Lochner, Maurizio A. Leone, Lorenzo Coppo, Raffaele Nardone, Maria Luisa Zedde, Roberto Cantello, Francesco Brigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In patients with acute optic neuritis (AON) transorbital sonography may reveal a thickening of the retrobulbar portion of the optic nerve. Our aim was to systematically review the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography of optic nerve diameter (OND) for assessment of AON. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE (1966-October 2014) was searched to identify studies reporting data on patients with AON (with/without multiple sclerosis) assessed by B-mode transorbital ultrasonography. Thereafter, the studies retrieved were screened based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data were extracted and the quality of the included studies was evaluated. Results: Seven studies (162 patients) were included. The OND was significantly thicker in the affected eye compared with its unaffected fellow or controls. An increased OND was found in 78-100% of patients. Four studies determined papilledema in 6-43% of patients. Conclusions: Transorbital sonography is a sensitive, highly accessible and user-friendly technique for the detection of significant optic nerve thickening on the side affected by AON and represents an adjunctive tool for the diagnosis of AON. Compared to visual evoked potentials, TOS may provide different, though complementary, information on the pathophysiology of AON. Significance: B-mode transorbital ultrasonography provides promising support for the clinical diagnosis of AON.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015


  • Acute optic neuritis
  • Optic nerve diameter
  • Optic nerve sheath
  • Transorbital sonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems


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