With optic atrophy, the optic nerve tissues are dying off or become functionally impaired. Because of this, the light signal received by the retina is atypically transferred to the brain, and vision disorders appear. Such vision impairment cannot be corrected with glasses and can eventually lead to blindness. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the first manifestations of the pathology and treatment options, including the innovative stem cell therapy.
What happens to eyesight with optic nerve atrophy?
Atrophy always means an irreversible loss of function. The optic nerve is a pathway for impulses from the eye to the brain. When some of the fibers thin out or die, the picture becomes defective — for example, fuzzy — and as the number of damaged fibers grows, the vision gets worse.
Depending on the degree of damage, there’s a distinction between initial, partial and complete atrophy. In addition, the pathology might also be congenital, i.e., manifest at birth or in the early years of life. It is also worth mentioning that optic atrophy is often bilateral, i.e., after a certain time, the previously healthy eye also becomes involved.
Visual disturbances might appear as spots in front of the eyes or as narrowing of the visual fields up to “tube vision.” Color perception disorders are also possible.
The overall dynamics of symptoms might vary. Sometimes atrophy steadily progresses in the absence of treatment, up to the development of blindness. Also, the atrophic process can be limited. In this case, the decrease in vision might be significant, but complete blindness does not develop. In any case, this eye condition needs to be treated — the sooner, the better.
Conventional treatment for optic nerve atrophy
Conventional medical treatment is aimed at increasing blood circulation and improving the condition of the nerve. For this purpose, physicians use vasodilators and neuroprotectants, which improve microcirculation.
Patients with optic atrophy against the background of intracranial processes (tumor, inflammatory processes) should be initially treated by a neurosurgeon and neurologist to eliminate the root cause of the condition.
Depending on the cause of the disease, the degree of damage to the optic nerve, the duration of atrophy and the age of the patient, different therapeutic approaches are used.
Stem cell therapy for optic nerve atrophy
All existing treatment methods are aimed only at preserving the optic nerve but not at restoring it. At best, they stop the further visual impairment but don’t improve current visual function.
Treatment with stem cells has become a widely used option throughout recent years. The therapy includes harvesting the patient’s own stem cells from peripheral blood. After laboratory cultivation and reverse injection, stem cells integrate into the retinal ganglion layer and later get to the optic nerve to stimulate its regeneration.
Other methods of administration are also used, e.g., intravenous infusions and peribulbar injections (under the eyeball, through the skin of the lower eyelid).
After the injection, the stem cells begin to form new nerve cells, which initiate the regeneration of nerve tissue. It should be noted that the results of the stem cell therapy course last for a long time.
How to undergo stem cell therapy during a lockdown?
Stem cell treatment is an innovative technology in ophthalmology that is currently available in the leading medical institutions abroad. You don’t have to refuse an effective treatment option just because it is somewhat harder to travel now because of the lockdown. Nowadays, there are options to make the treatment planning as convenient as it could possibly be.
Booking Health will organize the stem cell treatment for optic nerve atrophy to spare you from unnecessary stress. The company will help you choose a medical institution and a treatment program, prepare the necessary documents, apply for a visa and provide an interpreter for the whole period of your treatment. However, the most important thing is that you can always count on Booking Health for assistance during your treatment.
Feel free to fill in the request form on the Booking Health website if you need any information or assistance.