Neuro-ophthalmologists take care of visual problems that are related to the nervous system; that is, visual problems that do not come from the eyes themselves. We use almost half of the brain for vision-related activities, including sight and moving the eyes. Neuro-ophthalmology, a subspecialty of both neurology and ophthalmology, requires specialized training and expertise in problems of the eye, brain, nerve and muscles. Neuro-ophthalmologists complete at least 5 years of clinical training after medical school and are usually board certified in neurology, ophthalmology, or both.
Needless medical testing is often avoided by seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist. Some of the common problems evaluated by neuro-ophthalmologists include: optic nerve problems (such as optic neuritis and ischemic optic neuropathy), visual field loss, unexplained visual loss, transient visual loss, visual disturbances, double vision, abnormal eye movements, thyroid eye disease, myasthenia gravis, unequal pupil size, and eyelid abnormalities.
- The neuro-ophthalmologic evaluation is one of the most comprehensive examinations you will experience. It may take two hours to complete. You will be asked to give an account of your current problem and relate your entire medical history, including previous hospitalizations, operations, serious illnesses, medical problems in your family members, and medication allergies.
- You will have a complete eye examination. This may include testing of your peripheral vision (visual field test).
- You may have a partial or complete neurologic exam to test your strength, sensation and coordination.
- The neuro-ophthalmologist will review the records and scans from previous examinations, if applicable.
- After the examination, the neuro-ophthalmologist will discuss the diagnosis (or possible diagnoses), the need for any additional testing and possible treatment.