Atrophy of the optic nerve is a serious disease caused by the development of weakness of the visual nerve, partial or complete loss of the functions that it performs. In the process of development of the disease, vision becomes worse, along with which a distortion of the visual picture occurs. The disease is very serious, as vision may disappear altogether. The causes of optic nerve atrophy, as a rule, are disturbances in the functioning of blood vessels carrying nutrients to the eyes, or inflammatory processes that cover the optic nerve itself or the retina.
With the first vascular cause, blood vessels that have undergone painful changes, for example, in atherosclerosis, begin to cope poorly with their task. First, there is a narrowing of the vascular passage, as a result of which not enough blood is supplied to the tissues and nerves of the eye. From this begins starvation – a deficiency of substances necessary for the eye and, of course, oxygen. After some time , the nerve cells of the eye tissues begin to necrotize , in other words, die off. With the atrophy of a large number of nerve cells, the process of transmitting information along the nerves is upset.
In inflammatory processes, the nerves of the eye suffer from severe inflammation, which can occur after an infectious disease or due to an allergic reaction.
In any case, atrophy of nerve cells leads to atrophy of the entire nerve. This pathological change in ophthalmic practice is considered as irreversible, since nerve cells do not have the ability to recover.
Symptoms of optic nerve atrophy
The main symptom of optic nerve atrophy is a sharp deterioration in visual function. This symptom can manifest itself in different ways. For example, the death of the optic nerve can be complete or partial. With complete atrophy, visual function diminishes gradually, as a result of which a person becomes blind. In this case, the process of loss of vision can take from several months to several years. Incomplete death of the optic nerve is characterized by the cessation of deterioration in vision at a certain point, after which vision ceases to deteriorate.
Visual impairment can be of various types. As a rule, with atrophy of the optic nerve, there is a narrowing of a concentric nature, the manifestation of which is tunnel vision.
Quite often, tunnel vision is accompanied by the formation of dark spots in the field of view. There are no other criteria for establishing optic nerve atrophy on our own. An accurate diagnosis of the disease can only be made by an ophthalmologist after a thorough examination of the condition of the eye.
Treatment of optic nerve atrophy
Treatment of optic nerve atrophy is due to the underlying ailment of this pathological process. The main task of the treatment of optic nerve atrophy is to inhibit the development of the process of dying off of nerve cells, to prevent the possible transition of partial dying off to complete loss of vision.
For the treatment of optic nerve atrophy, a complex of B vitamins and nicotinic acid is used. In addition, vasodilatation agents are used, thereby normalizing the nutrition of the eye and nerves. As vasodilators , no-shpa preparations and all kinds of nitrates are used. The introduction of drugs can be carried out by various methods – from elementary instillation to injections and the use of electric current. In some cases, the use of physiotherapy procedures is appropriate. Treatment of optic nerve atrophy should be carried out as early as possible, since in many cases it is not possible to slow down the development of the disease.