Critical Review and Invited Commentary
Epilepsy surgery, vision, and driving: What has surgery taught us and could modern imaging reduce the risk of visual deficits?
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Epilepsia published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 54, Issue 11, pages 1877–1888, November 2013
How to Cite
Epilepsia, 54(11):1877–1888, 2013
- Issue published online: 6 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 AUG 2013
- Medical Research Council. Grant Number: G0802012
- National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre
- Temporal lobe epilepsy;
- Visual field deficit;
- Anterior temporal lobe resection;
- Selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy;
- Diffusion tensor imaging
Up to 40% of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) are refractory to medication. Surgery is an effective treatment but may cause new neurologic deficits including visual field deficits (VFDs). The ability to drive after surgery is a key goal, but a postoperative VFD precludes driving in 4–50% of patients even if seizure-free. VFDs are a consequence of damage to the most anterior portion of the optic radiation, Meyer's loop. Anatomic dissection reveals that the anterior extent of Meyer's loop is highly variable and may clothe the temporal horn, a key landmark entered during temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. Experience from surgery since the 1940s has shown that VFDs are common (48–100%) and that the degree of resection affects the frequency or severity of the deficit. The pseudowedge shape of the deficit has led to a revised retinotopic model of the organization of the optic radiation. Evidence suggests that the left optic radiation is more anterior and thus at greater risk. Alternative surgical approaches, such as selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy, may reduce this risk, but evidence is conflicting or lacking. The optic radiation can be delineated in vivo using diffusion tensor imaging tractography, which has been shown to be useful in predicting the postoperative VFDs and in surgical planning. These data are now being used for surgical guidance with the aim of reducing the severity of VFDs. Compensation for brain shift occurring during surgery can be performed using intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but the additional utility of this expensive technique remains unproven.