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Neurologic Vision Loss

The gradual or sudden onset of vision loss can be unsettling; however, the condition is often very treatable. Vision problems may stem from conditions that affect the eyes or specific nerves and parts of your brain. Here we will discuss vision loss related to nerve and brain abnormalities that control vision.

Nerves that come directly from the brain and brainstem (instead of from the spine) are called cranial nerves. Twelve pairs of cranial nerves transmit information between the brain and parts of the head and neck. Four of these nerves control vision and eye movements. One of these nerves is the optic nerve, which carries signals about vision from your eyes to your brain.

If there is damage (such as inflammation, compression or a blood flow problem) to the nerves or their protective covering, or to certain parts of the brain, the electrical signals that control vision may be blocked.

Vision loss encompasses partial loss of vision, decreased vision from different areas of your field of vision—such as peripheral or central vision—and blindness. Blindness is a severe form of vision loss and can be caused by any condition that leads to vision loss.

Vision loss can be caused by a variety of conditions including:

  • Infections
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Problems with optic nerve
  • Trouble with brain pathways that process vision
  • Trauma

Some specific ailments may result in vision loss. They include:

Often, the expertise of a specialist, such as a neuro-ophthalmologist, is required to make an accurate diagnosis of what is happening in your brain or with your nervous system to know what is causing the vision loss. 

The most important part of treating vision loss is making an accurate diagnosis. At Indiana University Health we use a multidisciplinary approach to examine your vision and nervous system and determine the source of your vision problems. Our team is comprised of specialists, including neurologists, ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, and neuro-ophthalmologists. Our expert physicians collaborate on difficult cases to find the most effective treatment for you.

Our affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Indiana University School of Optometry provides patient access to vision specialists and vision rehabilitation services that help maximize the remaining vision.

We also offer specialty care for some conditions through our affiliation with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, such as the pediatric ophthalmology clinic.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Neurologic Vision Loss Treatment Information

Treatments for vision loss depend on the underlying cause of your condition. They may include medicines, nutritional changes, rehabilitation, special eyeglasses and sometimes surgery. Once a diagnosis is made, patients are often referred to a specialist for their specific condition.

Treatments for vision loss may include:

Neurologic Vision Loss Locations & Physicians

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Neurologic Vision Loss Support Services