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Keywords:

  • temporal lobe epilepsy;
  • temporal lobe resection;
  • visual acuity;
  • visual field defect;
  • congruity;
  • macular involvement;
  • strabismus

A survey is presented of the ophthalmological findings in 74 patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy, who underwent unilateral anterior temporal lobectomy 1960–1969 at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen. At follow-up, 1970–1971, one to ten years following the operation, 81% of the patients had no or only few seizures. The visual acuity remained unchanged in all patients -following the operation. Preoperatively a visual field defect was observed in 2 patients. At follow-up 51 patients had homonymous hemianopias, in 38 of them this was limited to the upper quadrants, and in 13 patients also included the lower quadrants, but was characterized as a total homonymous hemianopia in only 6 patients. The presence and extent of the visual field defects were correlated to surgical results, age at onset of epilepsy, age at operation, preoperative duration of epilepsy, presence of grand mal, preoperative complications, and neuropathological findings, but without observing any statistically significant conclusions. On the other hand, the extent of the postoperative visual field defect was significantly influenced by the side of the operation, with more and larger defects following right-sided lobectomies. In the 51 patients with postoperative hemianopias, this defect was either unobserved by the patient or regarded as a considerably less important handicap than the frequent and socially invalidating preoperative seizures. Preoperatively 11% of the patients had suffered from strabismus as compared to an expected frequency of 5%, but this trend just falls short of statistical significance.