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A variety of neuro-ophthalmic illnesses affect the optic nerve. These include:

Optic neuropathy

This condition often affects the elderly and people with extensive arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Patients usually go to their physician complaining of decreased vision. Treatment includes steroids to prevent further deterioration of the optic nerve.

Optic neuritis

An inflammation of the optic nerve causing blurred vision and even temporary blindness. This condition is sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis. Persons who suspect they have this condition should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Sometimes, optic neuropathies resolve on their own, but it is important to find out if there is any underlying illness.

Optic edema

swelling of the optic disc caused by an increase in intracranial pressure (papilledema) or by infection, inflammatory conditions or other conditions that create pressure in this area of the eye.


Keratoconus is a corneal abnormality where the cornea becomes thin and irregularly cone-shaped, causing decreased vision. It typically develops between the ages of 12 and 25. Mild cases can be treated with glasses, but most patients require rigid contact lenses to achieve their best vision. Occasionally, the condition becomes so severe that rigid contact lenses do not work and a corneal transplant may be required to improve vision.


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