Visual acuity impairment due to sellar and suprasellar tumors is not fully understood. The relationship between these tumors and disturbance of visual function was examined using preoperative MRI.
This study reviewed 93 consecutive patients with sellar and suprasellar tumors. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and visual impairment score (VIS) were used for estimation of visual impairments. Preoperative MR images were examined to obtain several values for estimation of chiasmatic compression. Additionally, the optic nerve–canal bending angle (ONCBA) was newly defined as the external angle formed by the optic nerve in the optic canal and the optic nerve in the intracranial subarachnoid space at the junction, using preoperative sagittal T2-weighted MR images.
The mean ONCBA was about the same on the right (44° ± 25°) and the left (44° ± 24°). Sagittal ONCBA was defined as large (> 45°) and moderate (≤ 45°) on each side. Preoperative VIS was found to be significantly worse if the right or left ONCBA (or both) was large (right side: ONCBA large [median 20, IQR 8–30] > ONCBA moderate [median 10, IQR 3–17], p = 0.003, Mann-Whitney U-test; left side: ONCBA large [median 22, IQR 9–30] > ONCBA moderate [median 10, IQR 2–16], p = 0.001). A large ONCBA showed a significant relationship with unfavorable ipsilateral BCVA (> logMAR, 0; right side, p = 0.001, left side, p = 0.001, chi-square test). The ONCBA had a positive correlation with ipsilateral BCVA (right: r = 0.297, p = 0.031; left: r = 0.451, p = 0.000, Pearson’s correlation coefficient). Preoperative BCVA was significantly lower on the same side in the large ONCBA group compared with the moderate ONCBA group (right side: large ONCBA 0.169 ± 0.333 [logMAR, mean ± standard deviation] vs moderate ONCBA 0.045 ± 0.359, p = 0.026, Student t-test; left side: large ONCBA 0.245 ± 0.346 vs moderate ONCBA 0.025 ± 0.333, p = 0.000). This visual acuity impairment improved after resection of the tumors.
Sagittal bending of the optic nerve at the entrance from the intracranial subarachnoid space to the optic canal may be related to ipsilateral deterioration of visual acuity in sellar and suprasellar lesions. Sagittal T2-weighted MRI is recommended for preoperative estimation of the optic nerve bending.