The Association Between Craniofacial Fracture Patterns and Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of craniofacial surgery




Traumatic optic neuropathy (TON) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of craniofacial trauma. Approximately half of patients with TON sustain permanent vision loss. In this study, we sought to identify the most common fracture patterns associated with TON. We performed a retrospective review of craniomaxillofacial CT scans of trauma patients who presented to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center from 2015 to 2017. Included were adult patients who had orbital fractures with or without other facial fractures. Patients diagnosed with TON by a formal ophthalmologic examination were analyzed. Craniofacial fracture patterns were identified. Bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were performed to identify craniofacial fracture patterns most commonly associated with TON. A total of 574 patients with orbital fractures who met inclusion criteria [15 (2.6%)] were diagnosed with TON. The median [interquartile range (IQR)] age was 44 (28-59) years. Patients with optic canal fractures and sphenoid sinus fractures had greater odds of TON compared with patients who did not have these fracture types [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 95% confidence interval (CI) 31.8 (2.6->100), 8.1 (2.7-24.4), respectively]. Patients who sustain optic canal and sphenoid sinus fractures in the setting of blunt facial trauma are at increased odds of having a TON. Surgeons and other physicians involved in the care of these patients should be aware of this association.


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