Good vision is not just the result of healthy eyes-it also depends on an intact link between the eyes and the vision centers of the brain. The Eye Institute provides a Neuro-Ophthalmology service for diagnosing and treating diseases that affect anatomical structures behind the eyes which are essential for vision.
These include the optic nerves, the muscles moving the eyes and extensive regions in the brain and brainstem that provide for the conscious experience of vision and coordinate the joint movements of our eyes. These structures are often involved in neurologic disorders such as blood perfusion problems (“stroke”), multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and infections and can lead to a great variety of visual disturbances. Any age group can be affected. However, optic nerve diseases and strokes are more common among older people.
Symptoms of neuro-ophthalmic conditions can include blurred vision, double vision, asymmetrical pupils, eyelid or facial contractures, eye or head pain, and unexplained vision loss. If you experience a sudden onset of any of these symptoms, seek help immediately. Neuro-ophthalmic disorders can lead to blindness and may even indicate a life-threatening condition.
Neuro-ophthalmic diseases cover a wide range of conditions, and Eye Institute physicians treat them in a variety of ways. Some conditions respond to medication, while symptoms like double vision can be eased with prism eyeglasses that restore single vision. Surgery is an option for some disorders in this class. For serious cases of thyroid eye disease, for example, surgeons can enlarge the eye sockets to relieve the outward pressure on the eyes.
For some neuro-ophthalmic disorders, the best course of action is simply to monitor the progress of the disease. Eye Institute physicians have a whole range of diagnostic tools at their fingertips for tracking disease progress, including ultrasound, ocular photography, electrophysiology and optical coherence tomography. In addition, the full scope of radiologic diagnostic options including CT scans, CT angiography and advanced MRI techniques are available.