Important Facts About Optical Neuropathy Every Parent Needs To Know

Most parents have had to soothe their little ones after they fell down and bumped their head. While little bumps are usually nothing to worry about, making sure your child receives fast medical attention after a severe bump to the head is important. Many head injuries may not leave visible cuts, bruising from them only showing up a few days after the injury occurred. Learn more about optical neuropathy and how it could impact your child's vision.

Traumatic Optic Neuropathy Caused By Head Injuries

If your child hits his or her head hard enough, it could cause damage to the optical nerve. In most cases of optical neuropathy, damage to the optic nerve is usually secondary to head injuries caused by blunt force trauma. One thing to remember about this type of optic nerve injury is it usually does not show up in initial eye exams done immediately after a head injury. Optic nerve atrophy is a common precursor to optical neuropathy, meaning your child's doctor may not be able to see the damage until weeks later. Some children suffer with seizures or motor skill issues after damage is done to the optic nerve. Discussing with your child's pediatrician about future appointments for eye exams is extremely important.

Vision Loss Is A Possibility

Optical nerve damage can cause partial or total blindness, depending on how severe the damage is. Children that have suffered with optical nerve atrophy due to a head injury can endure several types of vision problems including:

  • Central vision problems

  • Loss of color vision

  • Loss of peripheral vision

  • Nystagmus, involuntary eye movements that are similar to tics

In most cases, damage to the optic nerve caused by head injuries only affects one eye. Taking steps to protect the other eye is vital for your child to retain a higher level of vision. Your child's ophthalmologist will likely prescribe glasses for helping to even out the vision loss in one eye. Some eye doctors have optical labs on site so your child's glasses will be available in the same location as his or her ophthalmologist.

Preventing Head Injuries And Life-Long Vision Loss

Not every bump on the head can be avoided, especially in smaller, energetic toddlers. However, taking steps to prevent serious head injuries can be done by encouraging your child to always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or other mobile recreational toys like skateboards. Keeping a close watch on a small child when playing is the best way to avoid unnecessary head injuries, especially when children are over-tired during playtime.

Learning more about optical nerve damage and head injuries can help you know when it is time to take your little one to see a doctor for a bump on the head. While some bruises do not show up right away, the same is also true for the consequences caused by damage to the optic nerve, so never taking chances with any head injury is vital for your child's overall well-being. Visit or a similar site for more help and information.