Optic Nerve Decompression

Endoscopic Optic Nerve Decompression is a critical procedure that is carried out on patients who have various eye problems like tumours, loss of vision and so on. During this surgery, the bony canal which guards the optic nerve is removed, not completely but some parts of it. This nerve connects the brain to the eye, thereby making us see objects. If anything happens to the nerve, for example, swelling, then the bony canal prevents it from expanding further. This requires surgery because the canal is then needed to be removed instantly. This surgery releases pressure on the nerve and vision is improved considerably after this.


  • Loss of vision, slight or severe.
  • Pressure near the temple area.
  • Some people may also feel symptoms of sinusitis.
  • Sometimes, there is complete loss of vision accompanied by headaches as intense as migraine. In that case, it’s the optical nerve damage that has happened.


There haven’t been a lot of definite causes for this problem, but there are some that are identified. These are as follows.

  • Toxoplasmosis caused by the Toxoplasma parasite, causes this problem. This is acquired usually by uncooked meat.
  • Herpes can also occur in the ocular zone leading to swelling of the topic nerve.
  • High nutritional deficiency in the body can be one of the primary causes for this. This may lead to optic nerve swelling.
  • Extra consumption of tobacco and alcohol causes the same.
  • There are many kinds of viral infections that cause this problem. It’s important to have a well maintained immune system.


  • This surgery can only be performed in the presence of general anesthesia and it cannot be performed on outpatients. The patients need to stay for a while in the hospital and post-operative care is imperative.
  • First of all, the surgeon will perform surgery on one’s sinus. This is also endoscopic. He will open the sinus areas which are situated very close to the eye. According to doctors, the closest ones are ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses.
  • When this method is completed, a part of the bone-canal is removed. The nerve is decompressed and there is a huge amount of space meted out for the nerve to expand.
  • As soon as this process is done and the bandages are removed, the vision comes back and patients are able to see things clearly.
  • However, there are a lot of risks associated with this surgery as well. The surgery work is immense in this and sometimes inadequate decompression can be done. Other things like bleeding or complete loss of vision can also occur. But these cases are rare and the surgery has a high success rate.

This surgery has tons of benefits and one time investment in it leads to a very clear vision. It’s a delicate surgery, but at the end of the day, it’s always worth it.

Authored by Dr Shailesh Pandey, ENT Specialist

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