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Optic Nerve Decompression


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The optic nerve is the “nerve of vision” that extends from the brain, through your skull, and into your eye.

A portion of the optic nerve is enclosed in a rigid, bony tunnel as it exits the skull. Any condition that causes swelling or compression of the optic nerve at this location may lead to a loss of vision or blindness.

Endoscopic optic nerve decompression is a minimally invasive procedure used to relieve some of the pressure on the optic nerve and stabilize or improve vision by removing a portion of the bony optic canal. This procedure is done with the use of endoscopes (small rigid telescopes), allowing your surgeon to go through the nose and sinuses to perform this delicate surgery without any cuts to the face.

Who is a Candidate?

Optic nerve decompression can be used to treat any condition that is threatening or causing progressive vision loss due to significant pressure along the optic nerve near the optic canal, including:

  • Tumors (growths) within the eye that directly exert pressure on the nerve
  • Overgrowth of bone (fibro-osseous lesions), which may narrow the optic canal
  • Head injury or trauma

What to Expect

Endoscopic optic nerve decompression is a surgical procedure that is performed under a general anesthetic. Going through your nose, your surgeon will first perform endoscopic sinus surgery and open the sinuses directly beside the eye and optic nerve.

Once this is complete, a portion of the bone overlying the optic canal will be removed. This effectively enlarges the space of the bony canal, thereby “decompressing” the optic nerve and reducing the pressure on the nerve. There is usually no packing placed in the nose following surgery. You may be kept in hospital for close observation overnight.

Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked No. 28 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.

Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive care. The experts at University of Miami Health are here to help you improve your quality of life and your vision through accurate diagnosis and leading edge treatment in a compassionate setting. Our ophthalmologists and ENT surgeons work together as a multidisciplinary team, so you will get the latest evidence-based medical or surgical treatment strategies.

Highly specialized rhinology doctors. The experts at University of Miami Health are here to help you breathe easier, smell better, and rest better with an accurate diagnosis and leading edge treatments. Our fellowship-trained providers specialize in the nasal airway, and our rhinology specialists have completed specialized training in nasal and sinus disorders. They have dedicated their clinical and research careers to caring for nasal and sinus disorders.

Our academic health center provides you with more treatment options. Our ENT specialists are experts in the field of rhinology. As part of an academic health center, we are proud to offer breakthrough treatments not available to other facilities in South Florida. We also offer our patients early access to clinical trials and new medical and procedural treatments. We provide comprehensive care for a wide array of rhinologic conditions, backed by expertise, research, and education.

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