A Meta-Analysis of Traumatic Orbital Apex Syndrome and the Effectiveness of Surgical and Clinical Treatments

Ankoor A. Talwar, Joseph A. Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Traumatic orbital apex syndrome (TOAS) commonly occurs secondary to trauma and irreversible ischemic optic neuropathy occurs as early as 2 hours after injury. Multiple treatment options have been described, however, there is a lack of consensus regarding the optimal treatment of these patients. Methods: A systematic review of the PubMed Database from 1970 to 2020 was conducted, using the search terms "orbital apex," "syndrome," and "traumatic" with the Boolean operators "AND" or "OR." Papers that did not describe TOAS, describe patient outcomes or treatments, and those without available full English text were excluded. Patients were clustered and compared based on treatment received with the primary outcomes of improvement in vision or ophthalmoplegia. Results: Three hundred forty-seven papers were identified, of which 22 were included, representing 117 patients with TOAS. A total of 75.9% patients underwent decompressive surgery, 82.6% received steroids, and 72.2% received nerve growth factors. Fewer than 20% of patients were treated with antibiotics, diuretics, hormones, or hyperbaric oxygen. Overall, 51.7% of patients experienced improvement in vision and 85.2% in ophthalmoplegia at 6 months. Patients treated with surgical decompression (66.7% versus 16.7%, P < 0.01) or steroids (60.0% versus 0%; P < 0.01) were more likely to have improvement in vision than those without treatment. Nerve growth factors did not improve vision. Ophthalmoplegia did not improve with any treatment. Conclusions: Outcomes of TOAS tend to be poor, with overall low recovery of vision, though surgical decompression or steroid treatment did suggest improved visual outcomes. Further standardized patient data is needed to elucidate the comparative effectiveness of these interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2176-2179
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Decompression surgery
  • orbital apex syndrome
  • steroids
  • superior orbital fissure syndrome
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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