The eyes and the visual pathways are connected with the central nervous system. Therefore, conditions affecting the central nervous system can also have an impact on one’s vision. These can lead to double vision, vague disturbances in vision, and sudden loss of vision. Some common neuro-ophthalmic conditions include:
Cerebrovascular Accident (stroke) - Strokes can lead to double vision when the brainstem is affected, as well as to the loss of the field of vision when either of the brain hemispheres is involved.
Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy - A sudden loss of blood supply to the optic nerve causing a stroke to the optic nerve tissue and permanent vision loss.
Optic Neuritis - A condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own optic nerve. There is usually rapid deterioration of vision followed by a more prolonged course of visual recovery. This condition is often associated with multiple sclerosis.
Anisocoria (unequal pupils) - Unequal pupils can be observed in neurologic conditions such as migraines, Horner’s syndrome, Adie’s tonic pupil, and third nerve palsy. Because unequal pupils can be an indicator of a serious underlying condition such as a brain aneurysm or a lung tumor, the condition should be evaluated without delay once detected.
Papilledema (swollen optic nerves) - Optic nerve swelling is caused by elevated pressure inside the head, and can be caused by brain tumors and blood clots involving the major veins surrounding the brain.
A less serious form of optic nerve swelling, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, can occur in young women of childbearing age (and less frequently in men or children). “Idiopathic” means that the cause for the buildup of pressure is unknown, but there is an association with obesity and ingestion of certain medications.
Blepharospasm - A condition of uncontrolled blinking, squeezing and eyelid closure affecting both eyes without an obvious cause.
Hemifacial Spasm - A chronic spasm affecting one side of the face.
Microvascular Cranial Nerve Palsy - The interruption of blood supply to one of the cranial nerves, which causes it to cease functioning, usually temporarily. Main symptom of this condition is double vision.