Papilledema (PE) is a swelling of the optic nerve that’s caused by increased intracranial pressure. The key to fixing it is to correctly diagnose the cause of the increased intracranial pressure and eliminate it. Here are some of the key facts you need to know about this condition.

Causes of raised intracranial pressure

There are many possible causes of PE, including:

-head injuries (PE can occur immediately, or as long as 2 weeks later)

-bleeding in the brain

-swelling of the brain or its coverings

-meningitis (can be viral or bacterial)

-uncontrolled severe hypertension

-intracranial hypertension

-brain tumors

-abscesses in the brain

-lesions of the spinal cord

Who’s at risk for PE?

PE can occur in almost anyone, although some people have higher odds of being affected. For example, one of the causes of PE, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, is more common in women of childbearing age who are obese.

Symptoms of papilledema

PE typically affects both eyes; however, in the early stages of this condition, there may be no noticeable effect on vision. When symptoms do occur they can be temporary (e.g., only lasting a few seconds) and may include double vision, blurry vision, and loss of vision (e.g., blind spots). Fortunately, papilledema does not cause pain.

Symptoms due to the underlying increased intracranial pressure may include headache, nausea, and even vomiting.

PapilledemaWhat to do if you have symptoms of PE

The first thing you need to do is get a correct diagnosis. It’s important for your eye doctor to use state of the art equipment (such as Diopsys ERG and VEP tests) to help them pinpoint exactly what’s going on. The use of this type of equipment will be painless, so there’s no need to worry about possible discomfort.

If you do indeed have PE, the key to successful treatment is to correct the root cause of it.

For example, if uncontrolled severe hypertension is what led to your PE, fixing that will be an important part of your treatment plan. If bacterial meningitis was the cause, a course of antibiotics will be required. If a brain abscess is the cause, it’ll be drained and a course of antibiotics will likely be prescribed.

No matter what led to your development of PE, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to sort it out, and can refer you to the right specialists as required.

We can help with papilledema

Vision care is so much more than just eyeglasses and contact lenses, and at Val Vista Vision, we want to help you with your overall health. If you run into a more complex eye issue (such as PE), be sure to reach out to us for help in coming up with a diagnosis and treatment plan.