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What is Optic Neuropathy?

Optic nerves carry information from the eyes to the brain. Damage caused to the optic nerves disrupts the vision of the eye and is termed optic neuropathy. It can occur from a lack of blood supply to the nerves. Some of the other causes of nerve damage may include radiation, trauma, glaucoma, and conditions of the brain such as a tumor, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.

Symptoms of Optic Neuropathy

The symptoms associated with this condition include loss of vision over a period of time in one or both eyes - severe cases may be characterized by complete blindness. The pupil’s ability to react to light is reduced and colors look faded. You may experience muscle pain, pain when you chew or comb your hair, and headaches.

Diagnosis of Optic Neuropathy

Optic neuropathy can be diagnosed by a thorough examination of the eye which includes:

  • Tonometry (the measurement of eye pressure)
  • Visual acuity (test to assess vision)
  • Color vision (test to assess the perception of vision)
  • Pupil light reflex (test the eye’s reflex to light)
  • Imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans (to identify the presence of tumors)

The damage to the optic nerve cannot be reversed. Further loss of vision and blindness can be prevented by treating the underlying condition. Optic neuropathy can be prevented by protecting yourself against facial injuries, keeping blood pressure under control, especially in the elderly, and getting your eyes tested regularly.

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