Orbit and optic nerve
Shaken baby syndrome and optic nerve

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 17 May 2018, last major update February 2014

Copyright: (c) 2004-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: shaken baby syndrome optic

Cite this page: Pernick, N. Orbit and optic nerve: shaken baby syndrome and optic nerve. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeorbitshakenbabysyndrome.html. Accessed December 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Defined as intentional whiplash movement of infant's head
  • Can be detected by beta-amyloid precursor protein immunohistochemistry to identify optic nerve damage in optic disk or distal optic nerve
  • Takes at least 2 hours to develop, staining intensity should exceed background
  • Also have severe bilateral, often multilayered retinal hemorrhages
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Fig 1A: intense beta amyloid precursor protein staining in distal optic nerve caudal to lamina cribrosa; B: high power shows axonal beading and small swellings; C: H&E does not show axonal swellings; D: neurofilament stain doesn't detect axonal injury
Fig 2: beta amyloid precursor protein of retina shows extensive focal axonal injury within nerve fiber layer
Fig 3: distal optic nerve of SIDS infant shows weak beta amyloid precursor protein staining without beading or swelling