Although meningiomas frequently involve the optic nerve, primary optic nerve sheath meningiomas (ONSMs) are rare, accounting for only 1% of all meningiomas. Given the high risk of vision loss with these tumors, surgical intervention is seldom considered, and radiation or observation is commonly applied. Here, the authors describe the visual outcomes for a series of patients who were treated with surgery aiming at maximal tumor resection and highlight their prognostic factors.
The authors retrospectively analyzed the data for 8 patients with intracanalicular ONSMs who had been surgically treated by the senior author (O.A.) between 1998 and 2016. Meningiomas extending into the optic canal from the intracranial cavity (i.e., clinoid, sphenoid wing, tuberculum sellae, diaphragma sellae) were excluded. Diagnosis was based on ophthalmological, radiological, and intraoperative findings, which were confirmed by the typical histological findings. Preoperative, postoperative, and follow-up visual assessments were performed by neuro-ophthalmologists in all cases.
The patients included 7 females and 1 male. The mean age at diagnosis was 45.1 years (range 25.0–70.0 years). Mean duration of follow-up was 38.9 months (range 3.0–88.0 months). All patients reported visual complaints, and all had objective evidence of optic nerve dysfunction. Their evaluation included visual field, visual acuity, funduscopy, and retinal fiber thickness. Total resection was obtained in 4 cases. Comparing preoperative and postoperative visual function revealed that 4 patients had improvement at the last follow-up, 1 patient had stable vision, and 3 patients had decreased function but none had total vision loss. All patients with good preoperative visual acuity maintained this status following surgical treatment. There was no surgical mortality or infection. Operative complications included binocular diplopia in 4 patients, which remitted spontaneously.
Surgery can play a beneficial role in the primary treatment of ONSM, especially lesions located in the posterior third of the nerve. Total removal can be achieved with vision preservation or improvement, without major surgical complications, especially at early stages of the disease. Patients with good preoperative vision and CSF flow in the optic sheath have better chances of a favorable outcome than those with poor vision.