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Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy is a sudden loss of vision or of a portion of the visual field, due to a lack of blood flow to the optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits information from the eye to the brain.

The most common symptom is a sudden loss of central vision or a portion of the visual field.

The patient may notice lack of vision in the lower portion of his/her visual field, which is used for reading. However, there is no pain or double vision.

Vision loss is usually stable once it is discovered, and usually remains unchanged.

In a few cases, vision may improve over time.

Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy can be considered a stroke of the optic nerve. But, the risk of stroke is not greater than that of other people.
Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy is more common in people with diabetes or hypertension, but can also occur in people over 40 years old without any other conditions.

Another cause, in people over 70 years, is temporal arteritis. In this condition the medium and small caliber vessels become swollen and occluded. These vessels, are also those from eye circulation.
People with temporal arteritis often experience severe headache, pain in the temple area and joints, especially in the shoulders and hips, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. They may also suffer from fever and weight loss.

In spite of scientific advances, there is still no treatment that improves vision in patients with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, except in the case of people with temporal arteritis. Some scientific studies show that 43% of patients with this eye condition improve spontaneously over time. Patients do well with temporal arteritis treatment with corticosteroids, which prevents anterior ischemic optic neuropathy from progressing or affecting the other eye.

What will happen to my vision?
Vision loss, once it occurs, is irreversible. Typically, peripheral vision is retained. Peripheral vision is useful for one to be on its own. Why are periodic clinical examinations important for everyone?
Eye disease can occur at any age and many of them have no symptoms until the damage is caused. Many diseases that cause blindness are preventable, so periodic ophthalmological examinations checkups are mandatory.