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Neuro Ophthalmology

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Neuro-Ophthalmology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that focuses on neurological issues that affect the eyes. The human eye, as we all know, records the pictures it perceives and sends them to the brain to be processed as images. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual inputs, and its malfunction might result in vision impairment or possibly irreversible damage.

Which are the common conditions pertaining to neuro-ophthalmology?

  • Optic Neuritis: This is a condition that involves inflammation of the optic nerve. An inflammation could occur due to various reasons – starting from an infection to an autoimmune disorder.

  • Papilloedema: In this case, the optic disc (the circular area where the optic nerve connects to the retina, at the back of the eye) swells up due to an excessive pressure from inside the skull may be due to a tumor for instance.

  • Nutritional Optic Neuropathy: Here the damage to the optic nerve is caused by certain toxic substances found in tobacco & alcohol. This could also occur due to lack of nutrients and deficiency of vitamin B-complex and folic acid.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy: In this, the optic nerve is damaged due to the excessive blood sugar or diabetes. As the disease progresses, the blood supply to the retina gets cut-off, leading to vision loss.

 

What are the most common signs of Optic Nerve Dysfunction?

  • Reduced visual activity all of a sudden

  • Double vision and headaches

  • A less reactive pupil 

  • Impairment of color vision 

  • Difficulty in seeing the light 

  • Visual Field Defects

 

Treatment

  • Optic neuritis: Antibiotics and corticosteroids are used to wash out the infection or prevent immunological problems from causing more harm in patients with optic neuritis.

  • Papilloedema: Medications are used to decrease the pressure inside the skull in papilloedema. If the increased pressure is caused by a tumorous development, brain surgery may be required.

  • Nutritional Optic Neuropathy:  is treated with a combination of lifestyle modifications and vitamin injections.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Because diabetes is the underlying cause, it is critical to treat diabetes before it causes additional damage to the nerves and blood vessels.