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Optic Nerve Decompression

Optic nerve decompression is also known as Papilledema. It is a condition of the eye which usually occurs when the pressure from the brain makes the optic nerve swell. It can occur due to several reasons. 

The most common and early symptoms are changes to the vision, which include blurring, double vision, a few seconds of loss of vision, and so on. Initially, these changes do not last for long but if the pressure in the brain is continuous then it will be for a longer duration. And in many cases, this also can be permanent. Therefore, it is important to seek medical intervention if any symptoms are seen. Papilledema also triggers other symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, sometimes ringing, and some other noises in the ear.

Causes 

The optic nerve swelling happens when the fluid builds in the optic nerve and the central retinal vein that travels between the brain and the nerve of the eye. The pressure pushes on the nerve and the fluid is unable to flush out from the eye at a normal rate, which causes papilledema. This occurs because of;

  • Injury to the head.

  • Haemoglobin content is low.

  • CSF buildup in your brain.

  • Brain haemorrhage.

  • Inflammation of the brain.

  • Brain tissue inflammation.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Brain tumour.

  • Abscess in the brain.

Sometimes there are no reasons why the pressure in the brain builds up. This is because of the obese body.

Diagnosis 

The doctor will do a thorough physical examination to be sure of the overall health and make sure the patient is not suffering from any other symptoms. Doctors will see the vision and check for the blind spots.

Sometimes the doctor will use the tool which is called an ophthalmoscope to look in the eye at  the optic nerve which is through the pupil. If the optic disc looks abnormally blurry, it can be concluded as papilledema. This condition also shows some blood in the eye.

Doctors will carry out some the additional tests like the MRI test and the CT scan to check for any other abnormalities in the brain and the skull. A biopsy may also be recommended to test for any cancerous cells.

Treatment 

Doctors would perform a spinal tap also known as the lumbar puncture, which helps to drain the extra fluid from the brain and also helps in reducing the swelling. Doctors will prescribe some medications to keep the pressure of the nervous system at a normal level. If the cause of papilledema is due to being overweight then the doctor will suggest a plan to lose the weight to reduce the pressure inside the head.

Doctors will also suggest some medications which will further help in reducing the swelling in the brain. Medications and even surgery may be recommended depending on the cause of the condition.

Papilledema is not complicated if the symptoms are observed and treated. This can be treated just by draining away the extra fluid which further reduces the swelling. Once the fluid is removed the symptoms will disappear within a few weeks. Swelling or the injury in the brain can be serious if not treated at the right time. So, visit your nearest CARE Hospitals when you notice the symptoms. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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