Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology

Disease

Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty within ophthalmology. 

It lays focus on the connection between the brain and the eyes; a connection that is in charge of the coordinated movement of the eyes and the ability of the brain to receive visual messages through the optic nerve. 

Neuro-ophthalmology includes various diseases that affect the connection of the brain and eyes. In neuro-ophthalmology, doctors diagnose and treat problems related to vision that begin in the brain, the eye socket or optic nerve.

The different eye conditions that affect the brain and the eyes include - 


1. Esotropia (Crossed Eyes)

2. Abnormalities in the Development of the Optic Nerve (incorrect growth of the optic nerve)

3. Myasthenia Gravis 

4. Diplopia

5. Optic Nerve Atrophy (Optic Nerve Damage)

Causes

There is no set time or age when pediatric neuro-ophthalmologic disorders occur. It differs from child-to-child. In some cases it appears at birth, while in some others, it appears in early or late childhood.

Neuro-ophthalmologic disorders cripple normal development and visual function in infants and children. Symptoms of diseases that affect the brain and eye connection vary from each other.

Symptoms of neuro-ophthalmologic diseases include - 

1. Abnormal Eye Movements

2. Abnormal Appearance

3. Unequal size of the Pupil

4. Unexplained Vision Loss

5. Eyelid/Facial Spasms

6. Pupils that do not contract in response to Light

7. Double Vision

Diagnosis

Small children may not be able to describe symptoms that they experience. Hence, when you or your child's pediatrician begins noticing problems, you must take your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist at the earliest.

During the diagnostic procedure, the pediatric ophthalmologist will perform a thorough and careful examination of your child. This is important for a valid and accurate diagnosis of any pediatric neuro-ophthalmologic disease.

The doctor will look into your child's medical history and previous medical reports. Optical and brain imaging techniques are used during diagnosis.

As part of the eye exam, your child may have to undergo several tests which include -

1. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) 
2. Electrophysiology Tests
3. Cerebral Angiography
4. Blood Tests
5. CT Scan
6. MRI Scan

Depending on the diagnosis, your child's doctor will recommend the best-suited treatment to correct your child's neuro-ophthalmologic disorder.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the eye condition that your child has and would include the following -

1. Specially-Fitted Eyeglasses like Prism Lenses
2. Aids for Visual Therapy
3. Medication

Surgery

In case surgery is required your child's pediatric ophthalmologist may recommend traditional or minimal invasive surgery for to help treat the problem.

Takeaway 

Not treating neuro-ophthalmologic disorders can lead to severe consequences. Therefore, if you notice symptoms in your child, get your child eyes checked at the earliest.