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Neuro-ophthalmology Disorders

  • What are Neuro-Ophthalmology Disorders?

    Neuro-ophthalmology are vision problems that relate to the nervous system. Vision disturbances can be caused by disorders of the optic nerve, central nervous system (brain and spine), eyeball movement and pupil abnormalities.

    The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain and acts like an electrical cable bringing visual information from the eye to the brain for processing. Optic nerve disorders include:

    • Compression
    • Eye movement disorders:
      1. Diseases of the orbit cause restricted movement
      2. Diseases affecting the nerves to the muscles cause weakness
      3. Diseases can affect the transmission (sending) of signals between the nerve and muscle
      4. Diseases can affect the muscle
      5. Diseases can affect the parts of the brain that control movement
    • Not enough blood supply (ischaemia)
    • Inflammation (swelling)
    • Trauma (injury)
    • Raised pressure in the brain
    • Raised pressure in the eye (glaucoma)
  • The causes of neuro-ophthalmology disorders depend on the type:

    • Compression may be caused by a tumour
    • Reduced blood supply may be caused by hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia or smoking
    • Inflammation (swelling) is often related to diseases that can affect other parts of the body, like connective tissue disease and multiple sclerosis
  • The symptoms of neuro-ophthalmology disorders depend on the type:

    • Compression caused by a tumour – Slow and painless vision loss
    • Eye movement disorders – Double vision, blurred vision, unstable (‘shaky’) vision, giddiness, unsteady walk, headaches and weakness
    • Inadequate blood supply (ischaemia) to the optic nerve – Rapid vision loss that is usually painless
    • Inflammation (swelling) – Rapid vision loss and problems with colour vision. If the optic nerve is involved, there may be pain behind your eyes
    • Trauma/injury – Symptoms will depend on the type and position of the injury
    • Raised pressure in the brain – Headache with nausea or vomiting, temporary vision loss, or neurological disturbances in other parts of your body (weakness or loss of balance)

    The most common symptoms of neuro-ophthalmological disorders are vision loss or disturbance, double vision, unequal pupils, and eyelid and facial spasms (twitches).

  • The treatments of neuro-ophthalmology disorders depend on the type. They may be given by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist), or you may be referred to a neurologist (brain and nerves specialist) or other specialists.

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