What is neuro-ophthalmology?
Neuro-ophthalmology is a field of medicine that combines caring for the eyes and caring for related nervous system disorders. Neuro-ophthalmologists focus on nervous system diseases that affect vision, eye movements, and pupillary reflexes.
Our fellowship-trained neuro-ophthalmology physicians provide special expertise in the consultation, diagnosis and surgery of patients with disorders of the eyelid, pupil, optic nerve, cranial nerve, and orbit resulting from optic neuritis, ischemic optic neuropathy, brain tumors and strokes, cranial nerve palsies, myasthenia gravis, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, migraines, and pseudotumor cerebri.
Blepharospasm is an involuntary contraction and spasm of the eyelid muscles that causes your eyes to squeeze shut. Blepharospasm is more common in women and usually appears after the age of 50. Generally, one will notice that one’s eyes are blinking and twitching more often. On occasion, it can progress to repeated, forceful, involuntary closing of the eyes.
Bright lights, fatigue, watching television, driving, and stress can all exacerbate your condition. Sleeping, walking, concentrating on a task, and relaxation exercises may provide temporary relief.
The most common treatment for severe blepharospasm is the injection of small amounts of botulinum toxin into the eye muscles to partially paralyze them and return them to normal function. Results are temporary, so treatment must be repeated every few months.
To find a blepharospasm support group for you area, please visit www.blepharospasm.org.
Hemifacial spasms are involuntary twitching of the facial muscles on one side of the face. This can cause involuntary movements in the eyebrows and close the eyes, as well as cause involuntary movements in the mouth and lips. While not usually painful, it can interfere with vision. These spasms can be caused by facial injuries, Bell’s palsy, or tumors or blood vessels compressing the nerve. Medications or surgery can be used to treat this condition.
Service is available for Botulinum (BOTOX) injections for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm, two different conditions that cause uncontrolled blinking of the eyelids and eyelid closure. This often results in an inability to see because the eyelids cannot be opened. BOTOX injections result in dramatic improvement in most patients’ ability to open their eyelids. Our neuro-ophthalmologists are recognized as experts in the field of BOTOX injections for these conditions. This same medication can also be successfully used to minimize facial lines and wrinkles.
CEENTA’s physicians are also involved with the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation, hosting support group meetings and answering questions during these sessions.
Migraines are intense headaches, usually characterized by severe throbbing pain and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours or even days, and the pain can be disabling. Warning signs, including flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling can precede a migraine. People can also feel confusion, moodiness, dizziness, weakness, or sensitivity to light and sound for the 24 hours after the migraine.
Different migraine treatments, including both pain-relieving and preventative medications, are available. Treatment will depend on the frequency and severity of the migraines.
Pseudotumor cerebri, also known as idiopathic intracranial hyptertension, is a condition where the pressure around a person’s brain increases, causing headaches and vision problems. These can include blurred vision, brief episodes of blindness, double vision, seeing light flashes, and difficulty seeing to the side. The symptoms mimic those of brain tumors, but no cancer is present. This condition is most common in obese women of childbearing age. In most cases the cause is unknown, but may be linked to an excess amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. This condition is treated with medication and, in some cases, surgery.