Eye Care

Optic Nerve Drusen – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is optic nerve drusen?

Optic nerve disorders are eye disorders. Drusen are the small collections of hyalin, a protein material. These optic nerve drusen most commonly form beneath the macula, which serves an indication for macular degeneration. But, they less commonly form within the optic nerve. They look like small yellow deposits scattered in the optic nerve. They are more common in Caucasians and occur in 1% of people. Typically they are not present at birth, but may become visible in teens and might become more prominent as we age. In some cases, calcium is formed inside, which makes them more obvious to see for doctors.

Symptoms of optic nerve drusen

The symptoms of optic nerve drusen are rarely noticeable.

  • Swelling of the optic nerve

    : This can be mistaken for swelling around the brain due to high pressure, which is more serious.

  • Mild loss of side vision

    : This can be detected by visual field analyzers in the doctor’s office. Patients usually do not appreciate side vision loss and not as a functional concern. But, rarely the drusen can result in severe and noticeable vision loss.

  • Central vision loss

    : This is caused by drusen in extremely rare cases. This can be due to the development of new blood vessels nearby to the optic nerve called choroidal neovascular membrane.

Causes of optic nerve drusen

Certainly it is a genetic component, as they occur often in multiple family members. However, why some persons are prone to buildup of this protein is not known. This protein is thought to be the by-product of cell metabolism.

Treatment for optic nerve drusen

There are no proven treatments or preventive measures for optic nerve drusen. However, the symptoms occur very rarely even if the condition is severe. But the condition of choroidal neovascular membranes might be effectively treated with injections of VEGF inhibitors or laser if detected early.

If you experience a mild loss of side vision then immediately consult your eye specialist.

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