Here at SightMD, we are dedicated to providing a large scope of care to patients all over Long Island. We strive to be a comprehensive, full-service eye care practice that meets the diverse needs of your entire family. This means including hard to find services like neuro-ophthalmology. If you are looking for the right neuro-ophthalmologist in the Long Island area, look no further than our dedicated experts at SightMD.
What is Neuro-Ophthalmology?
Neuro-ophthalmology is a highly specialized branch of medicine focusing on eye conditions caused by health issues that affect the nervous system. This includes loss of sight due to brain or optic nerve injury. These injuries can be caused by trauma, inflammation, tumors, toxicities, strokes, and infections.
A neuro-ophthalmologist will also see patients that have trouble with eye movements and coordination. This may result in a patient’s eyes looking different ways, or double vision due to misalignment. These conditions are related to the brain as well as the muscles that control the eye.
Our specialists can provide compassionate care to control your symptoms and, if possible, cure your eye condition. SightMD is a trusted Long Island practice that has helped thousands of patients with neuro-ophthalmic conditions to gain control of their vision.
Symptoms of Neuro-ophthalmic Conditions
Symptoms of neuro-ophthalmic conditions vary, depending on their exact cause and the specific nerves being affected. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Double vision: Double vision occurs when one object appears as two. Monocular double vision occurs when one eye is open, and binocular double vision occurs when either eye is closed. This symptom may indicate a neurological condition or a more common eye disorder, such as astigmatism.
- Sudden vision loss: Whether full or partial, sudden vision loss should always be treated as a medical emergency. If you experience sudden vision loss, contact medical emergency services. Sudden vision loss can be caused by a range of conditions affecting the eyes as well as conditions that affect the visual processing centers in the brain. Some of these conditions include retinal detachment, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, brain infection, optic neuritis, giant cell arteritis and stroke.
- Unequal pupils: This can sometimes be a sign of an extremely serious medical condition, so it is important to contact the doctor as soon as possible. Conditions that can cause uneven pupils include brain injury, eye injury, or stroke.
- Nystagmus: While there is no cure for rapid uncontrolled eye movement, proper treatment can help minimize its effect on vision and quality of life.
- Drooping of the eyelids: Ptosis is a common result of aging, but it can also result from neurological conditions such as Horner syndrome and cranial nerve palsy. Sudden eyelids drooping can be caused by stroke, cancer of the nerves or muscles, and brain tumor.
- Bulging of the eye: If the white of the eye shows above the iris, this can indicate that the eyes are bulging, which is considered a serious medical condition. This can be caused by hyperthyroidism, eye injury, brain tumors, and acute-angle glaucoma.
Types of Neuro-ophthalmic Disorders
Our specialists can treat a variety of neuro-ophthalmology disorders, including:
- Pseudotumor cerebri: Mimicking the symptoms of a brain tumor, this condition is actually caused by a buildup of pressure in the skull. It can result in blurred vision and double vision.
- Myasthenia gravis: This condition is characterized by intermittent weakness of voluntary muscles. It can cause severe muscle weakness all over the body, especially affecting the eyelids.
- Multiple sclerosis: MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that causes a degeneration of myelin, the protective coating that surrounds the nerves. It can result in difficulties with mobility, overwhelming fatigue, and other symptoms. It can also affect the optic nerve, resulting in compromised vision, or loss of vision. MS can also result in compromised eye movement.
- Giant cell arteritis: Inflammation of the arteries can lead to pain, inflammation, and loss of vision.
- Ischemic optic neuropathy: Sometimes called “a stroke of the optic nerve,” this condition can lead to sudden vision loss.
- Optic neuritis: Inflammation of the optic nerve is often a result of MS, and it can lead to sudden, though reversible, vision loss.
- Cranial nerve palsy: The third, fourth and sixth cranial nerves, which emanate from the brain stem, help control eye movement. Malfunction of these nerves can result in limited eye movement and drooping eyelids.
- Toxic optic neuropathy: Certain poisonous substances, medical overdoses, or nutritional deficits can lead to progressive vision degeneration.
- Horner syndrome: When the sympathetic nerves of the head and neck are disrupted, patients may suffer from ptosis, small pupil, and reduced sweating of the face.
Diagnosis of Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders
Because neuro-ophthalmic disorders range in cause and origin, there is no one method of diagnosis. Neuro-ophthalmic conditions are often overlooked as the symptoms can sometimes be hard to piece together. Because neuro-ophthalmic disorders can often manifest symptoms in the eyes alone, a disease affecting the brain or optic nerve is not always initially suspected. That is why it is important to see an experienced neuro-ophthalmic specialist, as they will be able to correlate symptoms and make a diagnosis. In some cases, a quick diagnosis is key to give patients their best prognosis.
Neuro-ophthalmic disorders may be diagnosed by taking note of all symptoms and finding a correlation between them. Your doctor will check the structures inside of your eyes, the muscles around the eyes and test your visual acuity and color vision. If your doctor finds anything concerning, they will call for more comprehensive and detailed testing.
If you are concerned that you may have one of the neuro-ophthalmic disorders listed above, contact your eye doctor right away. Our vision experts here at SightMD will be able to refer you to our very own neuro-ophthalmologists. Contact one of our many Long Island locations today to schedule your appointment.