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  • Toxic Optic Neuropathy

    Toxic optic neuropathy is visual impairment that occurs when a toxin damages the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the eye to the brain.

    Additional Information

    Toxic optic neuropathy is visual impairment that occurs when a toxin damages the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the eye to the brain.

    Who gets toxic optic neuropathy?

    Toxic optic neuropathy affects both genders equally and can occur at any age. It may be caused by exposure to a toxic substance in the environment, ingestion of food or other materials containing a toxic substance, or the systemic use of medications.

    Risk factors may include:

    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Kidney failure
    • Thyroid disease
    • Tobacco use
    • Alcohol use

    How is toxic optic neuropathy diagnosed?’

    The following may be used to diagnose toxic optic neuropathy:

    • Eye examination
    • Medical history
    • Imaging tests
    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests
    • Electrophysiological tests
    Symptoms of Toxic Optic Neuropathy

    A change in color vision, or dyschromatopsia, is often the first symptom of toxic optic neuropathy. You may notice that certain colors, particularly red, are less vivid, or you may have a generalized loss of color perception.

    Vision loss associated with toxic optic neuropathy is painless and progressive, mostly affecting central vision and occurring in both eyes simultaneously.

    Vision problems can be associated with many other health conditions. Contact a medical professional if you are having symptoms.

    Treatments for Toxic Optic Neuropathy

    The first step in treating toxic optic neuropathy is to remove the toxin responsible. Vitamin supplementation may be helpful, depending on the toxin.

    The prognosis varies depending on the specific toxin responsible, your total exposure to it, and the degree of vision loss at the time of your diagnosis.

    Information and Resources about Toxic Optic Neuropathy

    National Institutes of Health | Toxic Optic Neuropathy

    Request an Appointment with a Toxic Optic Neuropathy Specialist

    Call (602) 406-6262

    • Date of last review: February 17, 2017

    About Barrow Neurological Institute

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