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Neuro Ophthalmology

Neuro Ophthalmology

What is it?

Neuro-Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that deals with eye disorders that are caused by the defects in the visual pathway. Visual data from the eyes is transmitted to the visual center in the brain through this pathway.

Some of the issues in the visual pathway can cause vision problems such as sudden loss of vision, gradual loss of vision or double vision due to abnormal movement of the eyes.

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Neuro-Ophthalmology Disorders

Some of the disorders that are treated under this branch of medicine are:

  • Optic Neuritis (Due to Inflammation)
    This type of Optic neuritis is the main cause of a defective visual pathway that is the swelling of the optic nerve due to inflammation. The severity of inflammation of the optic nerve leads to vision problems ranging from a decrease in vision to total blindness. Optic neuritis mostly occurs suddenly.

    The signs and symptoms for optic neuritis usually includes,

    • Blurred vision in one or both eyes,
    • Dim vision,
    • Defective color vision (dull and faded colors) and,
    • Pain behind the eye, especially when moving the eyes.

Diagnostic methods such as color vision, side vision, and the reaction of the pupil to light are done to confirm the condition. 

Treatment for optic neuritis includes medications along with intravenous drugs is administered to regain vision in most cases.

  • Optic Neuritis (Due to Increased Pressure)
    This condition causes the optic nerve to swell because of increased pressure inside the head or skull. It can also be caused due to an increase in fluid pressure inside the brain.

    In the beginning, there is not a big decrease in vision loss but long duration of swelling can lead to the death of the nerve fibers resulting in severe visual loss. Optic neuritis affects both the eyes in most cases.

    Symptoms for this condition include,

Diagnostic methods such as CT scan, MRI scan, etc. are performed in order to identify the cause of swelling of the nerve.

Treatment for this condition is to prevent severe vision loss as well as to restore existing vision.  Therefore, the best defense is an early diagnosis as the cause can be identified and treated preventing further damage

  • Adult Squint or Strabismus : Strabismus or adult squint is a condition of the eye, which results in the eyes pointing at two different directions at the same time. This condition occurs when the nerves controlling the movement of the eyes in different directions stops functioning leading to a squint. Strabismus can be caused due to a variety of reasons. Some of these include the following,
    • Sudden increase in blood sugar
    • Mass lesion in the brain
    • Head injury
    • Injury around the eye such as orbital fracture : The treatment options available for strabismus vary depending on the cause as well as the type of squint. The different types of treatment methods are as given below,
    • Medical management for those affected by high blood sugars.
    • By treating any intracranial cause if present.
    • Wearing spectacles to decrease double vision.
    • Surgical treatment as the final resort when all other treatment options fail.


Authored By Dr. Lalit Kumar

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