Optic neuropathy is a condition that can develop when something goes wrong with the optic nerve. The optic nerve is at the core of obtaining visual information. The optic nerve supplies information from the retina on the back of the eye to the brain. This nerve may become damaged, impacting one’s ability to see. The nerve cells are extremely delicate and do not regenerate once damaged, which means vision loss caused by optic neuropathy is often permanent.
What causes optic neuropathy?
There are many different causes of optic neuropathy, and different symptoms may persist. Sometimes patients have a gradual loss of vision, while others have a sudden loss. Vision may be impacted in terms of clarity, color, or changes in just one eye. Getting a proper diagnosis of optic neuropathy from a provider at the Eye Care Institute is the best way to determine the cause of the condition, the severity, and the treatment options available.
The more common causes of optic neuropathy that results in visual impairment include:
- Ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve)
In these situations, early detection with an eye health professional is key to ensuring immediate treatment can reduce the risk of permanent or further vision loss.
Congenital, genetic, or environmental factors may also increase one’s risk for optic neuropathy. This may include:
- Brain injury
- Head trauma
- Inflammatory disorders
- Nutritional optic neuropathy
- Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy
- Berk-Tabatznik Syndrome
- Behr’s Syndrome
What do I do if I’m experiencing vision loss?
Any time you are experiencing a loss of vision, pain in the eye, or changes in your vision in regards to color and clarity, you may be dealing with optic neuropathy. It is essential that patients contact their optometrist the minute they notice sudden changes in their vision, as an early diagnosis can be the difference between permanent vision loss or temporary vision loss. Treatment options are discussed after a proper diagnosis has been made.