Compressive Optic Neuropathy

What is Compressive Optic Neuropathy?

Compressive optic neuropathy occurs when damage to the nerve causes a variety of vision-related issues, from double vision to loss of vision. 

Treatment to preserve your eye sight is critical. At the Yale Sinus and Allergy Program, our surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of compressive optic neuropathy to relieve symptoms and to protect your vision. 

Symptoms of Compressive Optic Neuropathy

Symptoms of compressive optic neuropathy include:
  • Blurred vision
  • Partial or total loss of the visual field. Loss of vision tends to be progressive, not sudden.
  • Double vision
  • Painful eye pressure
  • Decreased color perception
  • Sensitivity to brightness 
This list should be used as a guideline. Not every symptom is included. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have compressive optic neuropathy. Please contact your doctor right away if you think you may have compressive optic neuropathy, as the condition may affect your vision.   

Causes of Compressive Optic Neuropathy

Compressive optic neuropathy is caused by compression of the optic nerve. Compression causes legions on the nerve, and the nerve becomes damaged.

Risk Factors of Compressive Optic Neuropathy

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get compressive optic neuropathy; not having risk factors does not mean that you will not get compressive optic neuropathy. If you think you may be at risk, you should talk to your doctor. 

Patients with tumors, inflammation caused by medical conditions (like thyroid disease), an infection, or patients who have had trauma, have a greater risk of developing compressive optic neuropathy.  

Treatment of Compressive Optic Neuropathy

When orbital tumors are compressing the optic nerve, surgical removal of the tumor or decompression of the optic canal may be options to treat optic neuropathy. This can often be performed endoscopically. The term “endoscopic” refers to the use of small nasal telescopes that allow all of the surgery to be performed through the nostrils, without the need for any incisions on the face. The bone surrounding the optic nerve is accessed via the nose and removed, decreasing pressure on the nerve.