GLEN CARBON, IL – Dr. Julie Steinhauer, OD, FCOVD, owner of Vision For Life and one of a select group of functional vision doctors in the nation, says she is seeing a rise in the demand of treatment for optic atrophy, often defined as damage to the optic nerve that causes tissues to degrade and die, eventually leading to loss of vision.
Many individuals suffer from optic atrophy and Dr. Steinhauer is helping dozens of patients, locally and nationwide on a virtual basis, halt vision loss so they can retain as much eyesight as possible.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, optic atrophy type 1 is a condition that often causes slowly worsening vision, usually beginning in childhood.
“They will experience a narrowing of their field of vision or what we call tunnel vision, and gradually lose their sight,” Steinhauer said. “Many will have problems with color deficiency and will be unable to distinguish between shades of blue and green.”
According to Steinhauer, atrophy of the optic nerve has usually been associated with older adults but she is now seeing a higher prevalence in patients aged 15 to 45.
“It can be caused by a number of factors from genetics, to toxins in the environment, to strokes and trauma, even medications or vaccinations. Any event or incident that harms surrounding tissues and cuts off blood flow can cause vision loss,” Steinhauer said.
Steinhauer, as highlighted in her video What Does It Look Like To Have Optic Atrophy? said optic atrophy can be sudden, or gradual and hard to fully notice. “The dimming may pass, or you may slowly lose peripheral vision, central vision or color vision. If you experience these symptoms you should immediately schedule an eye exam.”
The eye doctor will look at the color and details of the optic nerve that can indicate potential damage. The doctor will work with a patient to diagnose causes for the condition and determine if any vision has been lost which has gone unnoticed.
The examination will include testing for color vision and the visual field, the pupil’s reaction to light, and measurement of visual acuity.
“Once the optic nerve is damaged, with a loss of vision, eyesight can be difficult to recover. However we can help patients identify several underlying conditions to stop progression and halt damage.”