What is the definition of Papilledema?
Papilledema is a condition in which increased pressure in or around the brain (intracranial pressure) causes swelling of the part of the optic nerve inside the eye (optic disc). Symptoms of increased intracranial pressure include headache or nausea and vomiting. Vision problems are not common initially, but may include short flickers of gray vision, blurred or double vision, and decreased field of vision or ability to see colors. Both eyes are usually affected. Papilledema by definition is caused by increased cranial pressure. Diagnosis includes a thorough eye exam by an ophthalmologist. Brain imaging studies (for example CT scan or MRI) are used to find the cause of the increased intracranial pressure. Treatment depends on the cause of the increased pressure but may include medications, surgery and/or weight management.
What are the alternative names for Papilledema?
- Edema of the optic disc
- Choked disk
What are the causes for Papilledema?
Since papilledema is caused by increased pressure in or around the brain (intracranial pressure), it is most important to find the cause of the increased intracranial pressure. These causes include:
- Brain tumor or abscess
- Head injury or trauma
- Bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage)
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- Inflammation of the brain's tissue coverings (meningitis)
- Inflammation of the middle layer of the brain's coverings (arachnoidal adhesions)
- Blood clot in certain veins in the brain (Dural or cavernous sinus thrombosis)
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri), a condition with elevated cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) pressure and no mass lesion
- Certain medications, for example, tetracycline, minocycline, lithium, Accutane, nalidixic acid, and corticosteroids (both use and withdrawal)