Purpose: Ocular injury and vision loss are rare complications of surgery. Spine surgery has been identified as particularly high risk for postoperative vision loss; nevertheless, ocular injuries have not been comprehensively assessed in this patient population. Methods: This historical cohort study assessed incidence, cause, and risk factors of perioperative ocular injury after spine surgery at a tertiary care medical centre from January 1, 2006 through January 31, 2018. Patients were included who had ocular injury identified during an ophthalmology consultation in the first seven postoperative days. Differences in demographic, laboratory, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics between those experiencing or not experiencing ocular injury were assessed with Fisher exact and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests for categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Results: Of 20,128 qualifying spine surgeries, 39 cases of perioperative ocular injuries were identified (39/20,128; 0.19% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.14 to 0.26]). The most common ocular injury was blurry vision of unknown cause (13/39; 33%; 95% CI, 18.6 to 46.4), followed by ischemic optic neuropathy (9/39; 23%; 95% CI, 12.6 to 38.3) and corneal abrasion (7/39; 18%; 95% CI, 9.0 to 32.7). All cases of blurry vision of unknown cause were diagnosed via ophthalmology consultation and resolved within several days. Patients with perioperative ocular injury were more likely to have baseline anemia, have undergone fusion and instrumentation procedures, and had longer operative times with greater crystalloid, colloid, and transfusion requirements and more blood loss. Conclusions: Although not representing a causal relationship, these data suggest that surgical factors may have a greater role than demographic characteristics or other clinical factors in the development of perioperative ocular injury. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and patients should be aware of the increased risk of ocular injury that accompanies longer, more extensive spine operations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine