What is Ischaemic Optic Neuropathy?

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Ischaemic optic neuropathy is an eye disease caused by a lack of or interruption to blood flow to the optic nerve, causing a sudden loss of vision. Its appearance is influenced by high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.

The obstruction can take place either with or without inflammation of the arteries. Thus, it is classified into two types: arteritic (with inflammation) and non-arteritic (without inflammation).

The lack of blood flow supplying the part of the optic nerve, located inside the eye, causes ocular nerve cells not to work properly and a loss of vision. This obstruction can be of two types: arteritic and non-arteritic.

How many people does it affect?

Non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy is more common, and occurs usually in people over 50. The vision loss is usually not as serious as in arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy.

Arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy generally occurs after 70 years of age. Blood flow to the optic nerve is blocked by an inflammation of arteries (arteritis) as part of a disease called giant cell arteritis.

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