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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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If the optic nerve has been swollen but after multiple tests

Customer Question

If the optic nerve has been swollen but after multiple test's no diagnoses was found
can the receptors die, and if so can they regenerate themselves.
Also if the eye still has interference and snowy effect can the brain find new visual pathways?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. A.S. Desai replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Welcome to Just Answer

Optic nerve is incapable of regeneration and nerve fibres once lost cannot be replaced ( so is the case in the brain too). If you have been diagnosed with optic neuritis ( swollen disc) in one eye for which no cause has been detected, it could be idiopathic . Optic neuritis usually responds well to oral steroids and vision returns to some extent in more than 80% individuals. But if the optic nerve swelling is in both eyes as in papilloedema then it usually has intracranial cause and when nothing is found then it is called benign intracranial hypertension. If this has been long standing then the nerve undergoes atrophy( degeneration ) . It is very unlikely for the brain to find new neural pathways. If at all any visual improvement is seen it is due to regression of the swelling in the nerve during the early phase.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi
It was never diagnosed as optic neuritis or papilloedema
they did MRI, Cat scan, lumbar puncture. blood test and everything came back normal
there best guess was it could have been a viral infection.
there is a lot of interference in the right eye and snowy effect.
the retina doctor was the one who said the brain finds new pathways?

this has been going on for 15 months and over the last two weeks seems to have got worse
also my anxiety about it and the thought of never seeing again properly doesn't help.
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for providing additional information.

 

There are many things that may have caused this optic nerve swelling. Optic neuritis and papilledema are the most common, but other things can cause this as well. A viral optic neuropathy is consistent with all of the negative tests you have found.

 

Given the lack of positive test findings for this problem, I think it would be prudent for you to seek a second and maybe even a third opinion. I would start with a neuro-ophthalmologist. Usually you have to go to a major medical center to find one, but that is your best bet. At the very least, however, I would recommend seeing a different ophthalmologist for a second opinion, one who will do their own workup and not rely on that which has been done previously.

 

The examination is such a crucial part of this problem so for me to list the dozen or so things that can cause this would do you no good. Your anxiety is justified and I think the second opinion is the most appropriate course of action right now.

 

As far as the brain finding new pathways: the brain is unlikely to form significant new pathways that will lead to near-normal vision again in that eye. I suspect the retinal specialist just meant that over time, the brain can learn how to use the vision that is left in that eye to the fullest.

 

Does this better address your concerns?

 

 

I am happy to be able to help you today. If you would be so kind, please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.

 

Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!

 

Disclaimer: My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute an informed medical opinion or recommendation. For an informed medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3193
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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