PURPOSE: Severe visual acuity loss associated with pseudotumor cerebri is usually caused by chronic optic disk edema or a retinal abnormality. METHODS: We treated a woman, with known pseudotumor cerebri treated with a lumboperitoneal shunt, who developed acute pallid optic disk swelling and visual acuity of R.E.: no light perception and L.E.: 20/70 in association with lumboperitoneal shunt failure. There were no contributory retinal lesions. RESULTS: The patient underwent optic nerve sheath fenestration and lumboperitoneal shunt revision. Visual acuity improved to 20/20 in both eyes. The papilledema resolved. CONCLUSION: The severe sudden visual loss was attributed to axoplasmic stasis and optic nerve ischemia associated with a sudden rise in intracranial pressure.
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