Causes of Optic Nerve Edema

Papilledema is a true medical emergency indicated by bilateral swelling of the optic nerve due to increased intracranial pressure…Causes of papilledema in the pediatric population may include, but are not limited to, Guillain-Barré syndrome, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, intracranial mass, trauma/subdural hemorrhage, meningitis, subdural venous thrombosis, arteriovenous malformation and idiopathic increase in intracranial pressure.

However, in most cases where optic nerves appear swollen it is not papilledema, but optic disc drusen. Careful photodocumentation and complete examination of visual function and overall health are helpful.

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