Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that deals with the visual pathways from the eye to the visual cortex of the brain. The optic nerves carry the message of vision from the eye to the occipital cortex of the brain as an electrical current. This pathway, if damaged, results in visual loss. Many processes can affect this visual pathway.

If the reason for the visual loss cannot be explained with a routine eye exam, it is often the job of the neuro-ophthalmologist to determine if there is a problem with the nerves of the visual pathway or within the brain.

Neuro-ophthalmologists also diagnose and treat diseases that affect the nerves that control the eye muscles, eyelids and pupil.


Common conditions treated by neuro-ophthalmologists include:

  • Blepharospasm
  • Double vision
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Vision-related migraines
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerves)
  • Papilledema (swollen optic nerves due to increased intracranial pressure)
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Pupil abnormalities
  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Visual system tumors

Evaluation and Diagnosis

Evaluation includes a detailed history and physical examination. From this initial examination, the neuro-ophthalmologist is often able to formulate a list of possible diagnoses and may order additional testing aimed at identifying a specific disease process or abnormality. Tests commonly ordered include:

  • Cerebral angiography
  • Electrophysiologic testing of the retina or optic nerve
  • Laboratory blood studies
  • Neuro-imaging (MRI or CT Scan)
  • Ocular coherence tomography (OCT) and fundus photography
  • Visual field testing

To learn more about Neuro-Ophthalmology contact Albany Eye Associates at 518-434-1042 to schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Doctors.