What is Optic Neuropathy?
Optic neuropathy occurs when the optic nerve – a group of nerve fibres that transfer visual information from the eye to the brain – becomes damaged in some way. This might occur due to blocked blood flow, inflammation (swelling), abnormalities caused by various conditions, or trauma.
Optic neuropathy can lead to blindness, and it is essential that you see a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms. A patient with optic neuropathy might experience pain when moving the eye and temporary loss of vision.
Neurological conditions that affect the eye can play a significant role in people’s quality of life, as the brain interprets information from the eye and allows us to see images.
Optic neuritis is the most commonly diagnosed form of optic neuropathy and this condition can be linked to inflammation-related diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus or infections.
Other conditions with the potential to affect the optic nerve include thyroid eye disease, brain tumours and strokes, and giant cell arteritis (an inflammation of the arteries and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (build-up of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain that causes increased pressure in the skull and swelling of the optic nerve).
Infections or conditions that cause inflammation in the body can cause the optic nerve to swell, which in turn can damage the myelin, or protective sheath, that surrounds the nerve, and the nerve itself.