Optical neuropathy is a medical condition in which the optical nerves of the eye become damaged. The disorder is known to attack the optic nerve leading to loss of vision and colour. The disorder is quite prevalent in young adults who are between the ages of 18 to 35 years .The disorder is also quite common in the female population.
The cause of the disorder is still unknown though there is a belief in the scientific community that the condition is caused by an autoimmune disorder that could have been triggered by an infection. Other notable causes of optical neuropathy include an inadequate blood supply to the optical nerves. Tumours, lesions and infections can also cause this disorder. Injuries to the head may also cause damage to the optical nerves and lead to this disorder. Exposure to intoxicants such as methanol, tobacco and alcohol is also known to lead to the disorder. Nutritional deficiencies and, finally, genetic factors are also some of the likely causes of optical neuropathy.
The disorder is often characterized by the following symptoms: Firstly, the patients would always complain of having blurred vision. The inability to clearly see objects has come about as a result of the damage done to the optical nerves. The patients would also be colour blind. Differentiating one colour from another would be an uphill task since the optical nerve cannot function properly. Apart from these problems related to the eyesight other problems can include loss of sensory functions on other parts of the body.
Diagnosis is done by an optician through conducting tests to check whether you have reduced vision. Rigorous visual tests are done to check on whether the assumption of the doctor is valid. Brain scans are also done in order to ascertain the underlying causes of the disorder. The patient’s blood may also be tested through chemical analysis. Such clinical tests are critical since other infections and diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts may exhibit the same symptoms as this disorder.
In the event that the cause of the optical neuropathy is known, treatment is usually administered through targeting the underlying factors. The patients are also given steroid medications to speed up the recovery process.