SONY DSC Papilledema is a disease or condition of the eye where the optic disc swells dramatically. It is defined as an increase – often significant – of intracranial pressure or Inflammation.

The swelling can be seen in both eyes (bilateral) or just one side (unilateral).

***Unilateral is very rare.

The disc appears swollen and the margins are often blurred. There may be an obliteration of the vessels on optic exam. Just by looking at the eyes – from a distance away – no obvious abnormalities will be seen.


–  Hypertension
–  Malignant Hypertension
–  Hemorrhagic Stroke
–  Acute Subdural Hematoma
–  Pseudotumor cerebri
–  Significant Respiratory changes
–  Lyme Disease
–  Others


–  Vision changes
–  Headache
–  Blind spot
–  Blurring of vision
–  Total vision loss
–  Blurry Optic disc
–  Swollen Optic disc
–  Eye vessel changes – redness


–  Often a visual examination by an Eye Doctor can evaluate Papilledema
–  Medical provider may see something alarming on exam.
–  Exams to check intracranial pressure.
–  Brain CT or MRI to find the cause of Papilledema

papilledema1Optic Nerve Affected

–  A sheath surrounds the opitc nerve as it continues from the subarachnoid space of the brain.
–  When increased pressure occurs, the opitc nerve swells
–  Something, another medical condition, is causing the increased intercranial pressure.
–  A pinching and protusion of the tip or head of the nerve is seen in the eye.


Largely depends on underlying cause of Papilledema

1.)  Medications can be given to decrease the Intracranial pressure

.  Acetazolamide
.  Furosemide


–  These are given to reduce inflammation.
–  Can help prevent vision changes and vision loss
–  Can occasionally increase intracranial pressure
–  Should be used per the request of the Provider only

2.)  Lumbar puncture