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Eye and Vision Care

Optic Nerve Damage Due to Enlarged Ventricals

06/17/2011

Question:

we were just told our 12mth old can only see lights and shadows due to enlarged ventricals putting pressure on the optic nerves.the mri showed that the nerves are damaged .Do you know of any surgery to fix this? They also told us that instead of the nerves being orange thet were tan, What does that mean

Answer:

I am suspecting that your child may have also been diagnosed with hyrdocephalus, which is a condition in which the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has trouble properly draining. Since the CSF cannot drain appropriately, fluid builds up in the brain and enlarges the ventricles. These enlarged ventricles can put pressure on some of the nerves throughout the brain, in this case the optic nerves. If the pressure has been elevated for some time, the fibers that make up the optic nerve will slowly atrophy or break down.

The statement that the optic nerves are tan means that extensive damage to the optic nerves has occurred. Optic nerve tissue does not regenerate so whatever damage has occurred will unfortunately be permanent. There are surgical techniques and treatments to decrease the pressure in the brain and therefore decrease the size of the ventricles, however once damage has occurred to the optic nerves it is sadly irreversible at this time.

I am very sorry to hear about your child's situation and I hope that the doctors will be able to salvage some vision.

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Response by:

Aaron  Zimmerman, OD, MS Aaron Zimmerman, OD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University