The Effect of Combined Systemic Erythropoietin and Steroid on Non-arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy: A Prospective Study

Mohammad Pakravan, Hamed Esfandiari, Kiana Hassanpour, Sarvnaz Razavi, Parastou Pakravan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To investigate the effect of combined intravenous (IV) erythropoietin (EPO) and corticosteroid as well as systemic steroid alone for the treatment of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). Methods: In this prospective interventional comparative case series, 113 consecutive patients diagnosed with recent onset (less than 14 days) NAION were included. Patients were categorized into three groups. 40 patients received systemic IV corticosteroid combined with recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) (group 1), 43 patients received systemic corticosteroid alone (group 2), and 30 patients were enrolled as the control group (group 3). Functional and structural outcomes were analyzed 3 and 6 months after treatment. Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was the main outcome, and mean deviation (MD) and peripaillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (PRNFLT) were secondary outcome measures. Results: The mean BCVA at the time of presentation was 0.98 (±0.65), 0.96 (±0.67), and 1.02 (±0.63) log MAR in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P = 0.95). At month 3, the corresponding values were 0.73 (±0.45), 0.76 (±0.49), and 0.8 (±0.45) log MAR (P = 0.80), and at the 6-month follow-up, they were 0.76 (±0.45), 0.71 (±0.4), and 0.71 (±0.46) log MAR, respectively (P = 0.87). There was no statistically significant difference in BCVA between months 3 and 6, which implies stabilization of the visual acuity by month 3. Considering the visual field, within 6 months of follow-up after disease onset, the MD index improved in all groups with no statistically significant differences between them (P = 0.82). PRNFLT at presentation was 178 (±60), 186 (±59), and 166 (±57) micrometers in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P= 0.99), which decreased to 77 (±16), 83 (±22), and 73 (±11), respectively, at final visit (P = 0.14) Conclusion: We found no beneficial effect of either systemic steroid alone or combined with EPO in the visual outcome of NAION patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1084
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Erythropoietin
  • systemic steroid
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effect of Combined Systemic Erythropoietin and Steroid on Non-arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy: A Prospective Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this