NEURO-OPHTHALMOLOGY

WHAT IS A NEURO-OPHTHALMOLOGIST?
A neuro-ophthalmologist takes care of visual problems that are related to the nervous system, bridging ophthalmology and neurology. Our visual pathway extends from the eyes all the way to the occipital lobe located in the back of our brain. A big part of our brain is used for vision-related activities such as vision to walk, read, move our eyes and in creating our memories. Neuro-ophthalmologists have unique abilities to evaluate patients from the neurologic, ophthalmologic, and medical standpoints to diagnose and treat a wide variety of problems including life-threatening conditions. Here is a list of some of the common problems seen by neuro-ophthalmologists:


Optic neuritis
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve causing damage resulting in blurry vision or dark vision. It is usually caused by an autoimmune reaction to the optic nerve and its surrounding. It is associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, neuromyelitis optica, and others. Treatment and recovery of vision depend on the cause.


Pseudotumor cerebri
It is a condition in which high pressure inside the head causes headaches and problems with vision. There are several causes for this condition. It is usually treated with medications but sometimes requires surgery. It is very important to monitor vision closely to ensure no deterioration.

Ischemic optic neuropathy
This is a disease caused by loss of blood supply to the optic nerve. It is the most common cause of sudden vision loss in people older than 50. It usually affects the inferior or superior parts of the visual field. In some cases, treatment is necessary. Recovery of vision depends on the cause.

Visual field loss
It refers to an absence of vision towards one side of the visual world in each eye or in one eye. The damage that causes this problem can be in the brain or in the eyes. Some of the life-threatening causes of visual field loss are stroke, brain tumors, pituitary tumors, and others.

Double vision
It refers to seeing two of things that you are looking at. Several diseases can cause this problem such as infections, trauma, stroke, tumor, myasthenia gravis, and thyroid eye disease. The treatment depends on the cause.

Anisocoria
Anisocoria refers to unequal pupil size. This can be a normal finding, but can also represent a life-threatening condition such as some causes of Horner’s syndrome and brain aneurysms. The most reassuring thing about unequal pupil size is the time that it has been present for, which can be sometimes seen in old photos. You need to see a specialist though to determine whether you need to get an MRI of your brain done or any further testing.

Migraines
Migraine is a neurological condition characterized by headaches and is sometimes associated with a visual aura. Most people with migraines have throbbing headaches with nausea and vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound. There are several options for treatment.

© 2019 Ama Sadaka

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