Optic Nerve Disorders

The optic nerve carries impulses from the eye to the brain, where these impulses are interpreted as vision. If the optic nerve or its pathways are damaged, then vision may become impaired. There are many causes for optic nerve disorders. Some are congenital (present from birth) defects, such as congenital optic atrophy or optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), which usually manifest in early childhood. Other cases of optic nerve disorder typically occur later in life, such as optic neuritis  and glaucoma . Head trauma, tumors   and blood clots can also cause damage to the optic nerve, as can drugs, nutritional deficiencies and some chemicals. 

Symptoms of optic nerve disorder can include any of the following:
  • Pain from the eyes 
  • Vision loss or severe impairment 
  • Loss of color vision
  • Flashing lights 

Treating Optic Nerve Disorders
Vision that is damaged by an optic nerve disorder can sometimes be enhanced through the use of prescription glasses or by using proper lighting when engaging in a task that requires concentrated use of vision. In some cases steroid medications may be useful in easing symptoms of optic nerve disorder. In other cases surgery may be able to alleviate some of the damage. 

At Houston Methodist an interdisciplinary team of doctors, including neurologists, ophthalmologists and other specialists, work together to ensure the highest quality of patient care.

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