Optic Neuritis Treatment Pittsburgh, PA
The optic nerve, also known as the second cranial nerve or cranial nerve II, is a paired nerve located at the back of the eye responsible for transmitting visual information from the retina to the brain. This includes brightness perception and contrast (visual acuity), as well as the neurological reflexes of the eye, including the constriction of both pupils when light is shone into either eye (light reflex), and the adjustment of the lens of the eye which occurs when one looks at a near object (accommodation reflex).
As an essential component in vision, damage sustained to the optic nerve could mean irreparable vision loss. In addition to damage sustained to the optic nerve due to trauma, infection and from eye disorders such as glaucoma, damage to the eye can be due to inflammation that damages the optic nerve over time; this is called optic neuritis.
Optic neuritis may affect adults and children, though it most frequently affects those aged between 20 and 40. In adults, optic neuritis typically only affects one eye, while bilateral optic neuritis frequently presents in affected children. Optic neuritis can cause pain and temporary vision loss, and in some cases severe permanent nerve damage and decreased visual acuity, hence signaling the importance of receiving prompt treatment. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Pittsburgh that specializes in optic neuritis treatment, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Dr. Emma McGowan online.
Optic Neuritis Causes
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica are two conditions that are generally believed to have links to optic neuritis. MS is an autoimmune disease causing autoimmune attacks of the myelin sheath covering nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord. Neuromyelitis optica, a similar condition to MS, causes recurrent inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord. Other possible optic neurosis causes include:
- Ocular herpes
- Infections, such as bacterial infections
- Neurological disorders
- Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, an inherited form of vision loss affecting mainly men in their early 20s and 30s
- Nutritional deficiency
- Toxins from alcohol and tobacco
Optic Neuritis Symptoms
Optic neuritis symtpoms include:
- Blurred vision and blind spots
- Distorted/reduced color vision
- Pain when you move your eyes
Eye conditions, optic neuritis in particular, are serious and can lead to permanent vision loss, thus making it important to seek medical advice if you develop new or worsening symptoms. You should always exercise good judgment when it comes to your vision and visit your healthcare provider if you experience unusual symptoms.
Optic Neuritis Diagnosis
If you suspect you suffer from optic neuritis, it is important that you meet your healthcare provider who can assess your vision and determine whether optic neuritis, or some other cause, is triggering your symptoms. An optic neuritis diagnosis will follow a number of diagnostic tests, including:
- Routine eye exam: Your healthcare provider will begin by examining your eyes, testing your vision as well as your ability to perceive colors and measure your side (peripheral) vision.
- Ophthalmoscopy: Your healthcare provider will shine a bright light into your eyes and examine the structures at the back of your eyes in order to evaluate the optic disc (where the optic nerve enters the retina in your eye).
- Pupillary light reaction test: Your healthcare provider will move a flashlight in front of your eyes to see how your pupils respond. Pupils in eyes afflicted by optic neurosis typically don’t constrict as much as they would in healthy eyes.
Additionally, your healthcare provider might recommend a number of related tests, including:
- A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, using contrast solution, to visualize the optic nerve and other parts of your brain.
- Blood tests to check for antibodies for neuromyelitis optica.
- An optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer (often thinner from optic neuritis).
- A visual evoked response to test the slowing of electrical conduction resulting from damage to the optic nerve.
Optic Neuritis Treatment
Optic neuritis typically improves on its own; however, your healthcare provider can recommend treatment that takes into account the underlying cause of your optic neuritis (such as if a more serious disease like MS is to blame) and that may speed up the recovery process. Optic neuritis treatment may include intravenous steroid therapy to speed up vision recovery while also reducing the risk of developing multiple sclerosis or slowing it in its development. If this form of treatment fails, plasma exchange therapy might be recommended in which the plasma in your blood (the liquid part of your blood) is replaced with a donor plasma substitute in order to "clean" your blood.
It's important to receive treatment if you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms or experience vision loss of any kind. To contact a healthcare provider in Pittsburgh that can determine the underlying cause of your optic neuritis symptoms as well as recommend a treatment that works for you, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Dr. Emma McGowan online.
Medical Wellness Associates
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