Neuro ophthalmology is the ophthalmic sub specialty that deals with eye diseases and issues caused by different neurological conditions including various optic nerve disorders. This highly specialized and challenging sub specialty is a holistic combination of different primary specialties like Neurology, Neuro-surgery and Radiology with ophthalmology its parent specialty.
A few 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.
Treatment: Antibiotics and corticosteroids are used to flush out the infection or suppress the immune disorders from causing further damage.
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.
Treatment: Medications are used to reduce the pressure inside the skull. Might require a brain surgery if the increased pressure is due to a tumorous growth.
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.
Treatment: Lifestyle changes are recommended and vitamin injectables are prescribed.
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.
Treatment: Since the underlying cause is diabetes, it is essential to treat the diabetes before it further damages the nerve and other blood vessels.
Although each of them attacks the optic nerve in a different way, the final outcome is eventually the death of the optic nerve, if left untreated.
If not detected on time, there’s a good chance for complete loss of vision.
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The Ophthalmologist: Clinical and Therapeutic Journal