Partial visual recovery from radiation-induced optic neuropathy after hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a patient with Cushing disease

Mara Boschetti, Massimo De Lucchi, Massimo Giusti, Claudio Spena, Guido Corallo, Umberto Goglia, Enrica Ceresola, Eugenia Resmini, Lara Vera, Francesco Minuto, Diego Ferone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There we describe the case of a 41-year-old woman with a history of Cushing disease who had previously undergone unsuccessful neurosurgery, followed by stereotactic radiosurgery. More than 4 years after this treatment, she presented severe visual impairment, which started in the left eye and was documented by neuro-ophthalmic evaluation. Radiological assessment by contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging initially suggested the diagnosis of glioma of the optic nerve and the patient started corticosteroid treatment (first with prednisone, 80 mg/ day, followed by dexamethasone, 8 mg/day). Despite the therapy, vision in the left eye rapidly worsened until light was no longer perceptible; similar symptoms and signs also developed in the right eye, evolving to complete temporal hemianopsia. The clinical evidence was confirmed by the rapid progression of the MR picture, which showed homogeneous enhancement of the chiasm and optic nerves. On the basis of these findings, the original diagnosis of glioma was excluded, and radiation-induced optic neuropathy was diagnosed. As corticosteroids had proved inefficacious, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy was promptly instituted and vision steadily started to improve. This improvement was documented and confirmed by the progressive recovery of the visual field in the right eye and the changes in the sequential follow-up MR scanning. Optic neuropathy is an infrequent but dramatic complication of radiation therapy. Symptoms develop, on average, 12 months after treatment, and the onset may be acute and characterized by the progressive loss of vision in one or both eyes. HBO has already been used to treat this complication, but its efficacy is still controversial. Here, in addition to describing this particular case, which presented a significantly delayed radiation injury of the optic pathways, we provide a brief literature review and discuss some important points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-818
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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