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Neuro – ophthalmology

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Neuro – ophthalmology

hat is Neuro-ophthalmology?

Merging the fields of neurology and ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology is
a subspecialty dealing with diagnosing and treating any disease including nerve
related vision problems. light reflects off an object, enters the eye and
passes through your pupil hitting cells called photoceptors of the retina. Then
the light is converted into electrochemical signals by these special
nerve-endings (photoceptors). These signals are transmitted to the brain with
the optic nerve. The signals should be sent to the visual center in the back of
the brain for an object to be seen. This whole process is what
neuro-ophthalmology concerns itself with. The subspecialty plays a key role any
disease related to vision
loss. When the fact that nerve tissue does not regenerate itself is taken into
consideration it is critical to receive a proper treatment before the damage is done.

What are the symptoms of neuro-ophthalmic diseases?

Unless treated promptly, these diseases can cause total vision loss.
Although many of them are similar, the most prominent symptoms are impaired or
blurry vision or total loss of it. Vision loss occur over time. Transient vision loss, pupil disorders or unequal
pupils besides blur vision are some of many symptoms of the disease.

What are neuro-ophthalmic diseases?

Ischemic optic neuropathy (ION): when blood doesn’t
flow properly to the eye’s optic nerve which causes lasting damage on it,
vision loss is inevitable. Prompt intervention for the blood vessels to flow
properly again is a critical step for this disease to be prevented. The blood
flow to the optic nerve should not be blocked or reduced otherwise the optic
nerve may not work properly and die eventually since it won’t receive enough
oxygen and nutrition.

Optic neuritis:  This disease, more frequent in women, causes vision loss with eye pain. It can be
strongly associated with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). With MS the body’s immune
system attacks its own tissues. After the inflammation of the optic nerve’s
covering, the optic nerve can’t work properly to transmit the information from
eye to the brain. These patients complain that colors appear less bright or a
smudge appear blurring the vision. Treatment with steroids and immunsystem suppressors
to reduce the risk of MS developing.

Papilledema: an optic disc swelling mainly caused by
increased intracranial pressure. If fluid –CSF- surrounding the brain and
spinal cord is produced excessively or not reabsorbed adequately the pressure
increases.  Urgent treatment
is to decrease intracranial pressure.

Diplopia: double vision. There are six eye muscles
moving the eye. Nerves stimulate the muscles and both eyes are supposed to move
simultaneously. Due to the improper movement of one or more eye muscles, eyes cannot
focus on the same point and each eye sees different images hence the patient
will have double vision.

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