Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy following unilateral pai
Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited mitochondrial disease, characterized by acute or subacute, painless, bilateral visual loss. LHON is often misdiagnosed as optic neuritis at an early stage because of the similarity of their clinical presentation.

A 40-year-old, healthy man was referred with acute painful visual loss in the right eye for 2 weeks. In the right eye, visual acuity decreased to 20/40, and the Ishihara colour test score was 8/14 with a relative afferent pupillary defect. Optic disc swelling was found only in the right eye, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed enhancement of the the right optic nerve, consistent with optic neuritis. After receiving 1 g of intravenous methylprednisolone daily for three days, his ocular pain resolved, and visual acuity improved to 20/20 within 2 weeks. Seven months later, the patient developed acute painless visual loss in the right eye. Visual acuity decreased to 20/200 in the right eye.

There was no response to intravenous methylprednisolone therapy at that time. Eight months later, he developed subacute painless visual loss in the left eye. Genetic testing for LHON was performed and revealed the pathologic mtDNA 11778 point mutation.

Case with painful unilateral optic neuritis preceding the onset of LHON. Even if a typical optic neuritis patient has completely recovered from steroid treatment once in the past, it is advisable to keep in mind the possibility of LHON if an acute or subacute loss of vision subsequently or simultaneously occurs in both eyes and does not respond to steroids.

Source: https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-020-01461-6
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