ZocdocAnswersHow can I determine whether I have an optic nerve injury?

Question

How can I determine whether I have an optic nerve injury?

Is there pain involved or is my vision just affected? Car accident, age 23.

Answer

There are a variety of insults that can occur to the optic nerve, and some of these are more likely to cause pain while others can cause loss of vision. For instance, optic neuritis is a form of sudden swelling within the optic nerve and symptoms of this can include both pain with eye movement as well as decrease or loss of vision. In terms of a trauma to your eye as it sounds like you may have sustained, it is difficult to know what could be the potential symptoms of this without knowing what symptoms you are currently having. Are you having difficulty looking in any direction or pain with certain movements? It is possible that you may experience either or both loss of vision and painful movement of the eyes. The best way to know is to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist who will be able to better evaluate your medical history, presenting symptoms and clinical exam and decide upon the appropriate work up. This may include a special eye exam, imaging studies or a referral to a specialist. It is important that you be evaluated in a timely manner as injury to the optic nerve may become permanent if not treated soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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