Neuro-Ophthalmology is the specialty of both neurology and ophthalmology concerning visual symptoms that relate to the nervous system. Some of these problems may include injury to the brain and/or optic nerves, which transmit visual signals from the eyes to the brain. This specialty includes treatment for loss of vision that may be caused by trauma, inflammation, strokes, tumors, toxicity and infections.
Patients who have any loss of visual acuity, visual field or color vision due to a problem with the brain or optic nerves should be evaluated by a neuro-ophthalmologist. Some of the typical disorders include the following: optic neuritis, optic neuropathy, papilledema, ocular myasthenia gravis, visual field loss due to tumor, stroke or any unexplained vision loss, double vision, headaches, nystagmus (shaking eyes) and disorders of the eyelids and pupils such as eyelid or facial spasm.
The scope of neuro-ophthalmology practice also includes optic nerve sheath fenestration surgery for the treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri–pressure in the head). Patients who have tumors of the pituitary gland or other tumors that may compress the vision pathways in the brain may be referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist to make sure there is no loss of vision. Neuro-ophthalmologists also treat patients who have problems controlling eye movements, resulting in difficulty looking in certain directions or double vision due to misalignment.
The neuro-ophthalmology exam begins with a careful history of the patient’s problem and a review of any neurological or medical problems that could be relevant. This is followed by an evaluation of the patient’s vision and eye movements and typically includes testing of the visual acuity, color vision and visual fields. The eye is examined with special attention paid to the optic nerve and retina in the back of the eye. In most cases, dilating drops will be administered to allow easy viewing of these important structures. The pressure and size of each eye may be checked as well. Eye movements will also be evaluated, which may include the use of prism lenses and special charts. Finally, the neuro-ophthalmologist will sit down with the patient and discuss his or her condition and any treatments or management strategies that may be offered.
Use our contact page to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced doctors to learn more about neuro-ophthalmology, treatment and procedures. Dr. Kristin Madonia treats patients at the Birmingham location.