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What is Neuro-ophthalmology?

Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty that merges both neurology and ophthalmology. A neuro-ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in visual problems related to the nervous system.

What types of conditions do neuro-ophthalmologists treat?

Neuro-ophthalmologists treat any visual problem related to the nervous system. Vision loss or visual disturbances caused by a brain injury, for instance, would fall under the scope of a neuro-ophthalmologist. Optic nerve injuries would also fall under the neuro-ophthalmology speciality. Specific conditions that may fall under the scope of a neuro-ophthalmologist include:

  • Optic neuritis
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Brain tumors
  • Strokes
  • Ptosis
  • Blepharospasm
  • Seizures of the eye muscles
  • Hemifacial spasm


Those with disorders relating to neuro-ophthalmology generally start out at their primary eye doctor. During an eye examination, your primary eye doctor will be able to refer you to a neuro-ophthalmologist.

Many patients who come in for an appointment have already noticed visual disturbances, or have some degree of vision loss. During your appointment, your provider will determine the cause of your vision loss and you will discuss your treatment options.

It is important to remember that vision loss due to nerve damage is not reparable. In these cases, your provider will assist you in determining your next steps.

What to expect during your appointment

During your appointment, your provider will take a detailed account of your medical history and perform a clinical examination. You should bring any available CT or MRI images, as well as any other information that could be helpful during your appointment. Be sure to bring someone to drive you home, as your eyes will likely be dilated.

After your examination, your provider will reach a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. There will be time for you to ask your provider any questions you may have related to your diagnosis.

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