Perioperative Blindness in Spine Surgery: A Scoping Literature Review.


Perioperative vision loss (POVL) is a devastating surgical complication that impacts both the recovery from surgery and quality of life, most commonly occurring after spine surgery. With rates of spine surgery dramatically increasing, the prevalence of POVL will increase proportionately. This scoping review aims to aggregate the literature pertinent to POVL in spine surgery and consolidate recommendations and preventative measures to reduce the risk of POVL. There are several causes of POVL, and the main contribution following spine surgery is ischemic optic neuropathy (ION). Vision loss often manifests immediately following surgery and is irreversible and severe. Diffusion weighted imaging has recently surfaced as a diagnostic tool to identify ION. There are no effective treatments; therefore, risk stratification for counseling and prevention are vital. Patients undergoing prone surgery of long duration and/or with significant expected blood loss are at greatest risk. Future research is necessary to develop effective treatments.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Sperber, Jacob, Edwin Owolo, Tanner J Zachem, Brandon Bishop, Eli Johnson, Eleonora M Lad and C Rory Goodwin (2024). Perioperative Blindness in Spine Surgery: A Scoping Literature Review. Journal of clinical medicine, 13(4). p. 1051. 10.3390/jcm13041051 Retrieved from

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Courtney Rory Goodwin

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery.
Director of Spine Oncology,
Associate Residency Program Director
Third Year Study Program Director Neurosciences, Duke University School of Medicine
Director of Spine Metastasis, Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis, Department of Neurosurgery
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center

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