Papilledema Occur

Papilledema occurs when sudden slight increased pressure in the intracranial nerves is produced. This results to compressed optic nerves in the surrounding optic nerve leading to inflammation or bulge in the back wall of the eyeball.

Grades of Papilledema

Papilledema is graded from 0 to 5 as per Frisen Scale papilledema grading system.

Stage 0 – Normal optic disc

Stage 1 – Very early papilledema

Stage 2 -  Early papilledema

Stage 3 – Moderate papilledema

Stage 4 -  Marked papilledema

Stage 5 – Severe papilledema

Papilledema Causes

There are several causes of papilledema like head injury, brain tumor or abscess; internal bleeding in the brain; brain tissue infection like meningitis or encephalitis; and idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Pseudotumor Cerebri

Pseudotumor cerebri or benign intracranial hypertension is one factor which causes increased production of the intracranial spinal fluid which is the common reason behind women and the obese. It is very prominent among women who experiences their first menstrual period, women who reach the menopausal stage and women who use birth control pills.


Photo by : wikipedia

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is another factor which may trigger increased pressure in the cranium which may lead to brain bleeding. It doesn’t matter much how much pressure is increased in the intracranial fluid because even the slightest change in the level of pressure can already result to Papilledema.

What are the Symptoms of Papilledema?

Papilledema is often misdiagnosed by some because of the many similarities in the symptoms it possesses like headache, nausea and vomiting as well as the combined machinery like sound occurring inside the brain.

Nevertheless, positive pailledema symptoms that an individual may truly be suffering are visual changes and problems. Symptoms vary with papilledema stages.  A patient may experience sudden visual changes which only last for thirty seconds or so; visual black-outs due to sudden change in position triggered by coughing or strain in the chest or abdomen; flashing lights that are manifested by arc shape lights; and appearance of smaller field of vision that contains larger blind spot. Ultimately, Papilledema may lead to blindness especially if not treated immediately.

Diagnosis of Paipilledema

The initial check-up begins with physical examination which includes analysis of the wider blind spot near the nose proceeding to the narrowed peripheral vision. This data is then compared with the vision abilities of your own ophthalmologist by sitting across or right beside the patient. For more formal tests, the ophthalmologist has the options like papilledema fundoscopy to check visual fields and vision grids.

Since Papilledema shares similar features with other optic nerve and brain diseases, an ophthalmologist typically uses an opthalmoscope in their diagnosis. Moreover, thanks to the advent of technology diagnostic equipments like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) can also be used to help determine the cause of the symptoms experienced by the patient.

Additional tests include spinal tap to help measure the pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid or ultrasound of the eye to help distinguish it from other disorders which may also cause optic nerve swelling similar to papilledema optic neuritis.

Papilledema Treatment

Once positively, diagnosed Papilledema should be immediately treated to help reduce and eliminate the pressure in the intracranial fluid of the brain. This is necessary to help prevent more complications from occurring like brain tumor and blindness. During these cases corticosteroid may be given to the patient to help lessen the pressure but papilledema surgery is the best option to help treat this condition. Nevertheless, if Papilledema is triggered only by idiopathic intracranial hypertension then use of diuretic and weight loss remedy can be the medical solution but if it caused by brain infection then antibiotics may be given to help drain the brain abscess.

Are there Alternative Treatments for Papilledema?

Those who do not wish to undergo surgery or medication may use acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, herbal remedies and hydrotherapy. Nevertheless, always seek the advice of your physician before proceeding with this type of treatment to avoid possible health complications in the future. Moreover, never purchase drugs that are not approved by the FDA.

Optic disc

Photo by : wikipedia

Portion of the optic nerve

Photo by : wikipedia

Unilateral Papilledema

Photo by : flickr


Photo by : flickr

How to Prevent Papilledema?

Anyone who wishes to avoid experiencing the discomforts of Papilledema is proper maintenance and control of blood pressure by following your doctor’s instructions. For patients who are already under medication due to increased blood pressure, it is a must that he or she does not skip her blood pressure medicine unless specifically instructed by the physician because it may lead to sudden imbalance in the level of the intracranial fluid.


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