The purpose of this paper was to study the visual outcome after surgery in patients with suprasellar tumors who experienced preoperative blindness in 1 or both eyes.
All patients with suprasellar tumors and no perception of light in 1 or both eyes and who underwent surgery between May 2002 and May 2006 were included in this retrospective study. Outcome was analyzed at discharge from the hospital and at follow-up. There were a total of 79 patients (51 males and 28 females, age range 5–70 years). There were 37 cases of pituitary adenomas, 19 craniopharyngiomas, 18 meningiomas, and 5 other tumors. Preoperatively 61 patients had uniocular blindness and 18 patients had binocular blindness. Of all 158 eyes, 97 (61.4%) were blind at admission and these eyes were analyzed. Sixty-three patients (79.7%) presented with headache and 14 (17.7%) with hypothalamic symptoms. Nearly one fourth (24%) of patients with a pituitary adenoma had a history of apoplexy. The duration of visual decline ranged from 3 days to 7 years, and the duration of blindness ranged from 1 day to 3 years. Patients underwent either transcranial or transsphenoidal tumor decompression.
At discharge from the hospital visual improvement was exhibited in 23 (29%) of 79 patients and 27 (27.8%) of 97 eyes. Improvement to serviceable vision occurred in 7 (8.9%) of 79 patients and in 8 (8.2%) of 97 eyes with pre-operative blindness. After surgery, visual improvement was noted in 15 (24.6%) of 61 patients with uniocular blindness and 8 (44.4%) of 18 patients with binocular blindness. However, serviceable vision was restored in 5 (8.2%) of 61 patients with uniocular and 2 (11.1%) of 18 patients with binocular blindness. Bivariate analysis revealed male sex, shorter duration of blindness, presence of apoplexy, sellar tumor extension, soft tumor consistency, operative evidence of hemorrhage in tumor, and tumor histopathology (pituitary adenoma) to have significant impact on the outcome. Multivariate analysis revealed duration of blindness for > 12 weeks, apoplexy, and sellar extension to have a significant impact on visual outcome.
The present study is the largest in the existing medical literature to evaluate the factors affecting visual outcome after surgery of suprasellar tumors with preoperative blindness.