How Does an Eye Exam Reveal Brain Injury? – Michael Seiff, MD – Neurosurgeon


There are a number
of findings you can see when you’re doing an
ophthalmologic examination of the patient that can
give you a clue as to how severe their consult has been. For example, when somebody has
had a subarachnoid hemorrhage– if it’s a type of hemorrhage you
get from a ruptured aneurysm– we will see little
tiny hemorrhages in the retina that are
very distinct and very classic for the findings we’ll
see after a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured
aneurysm; as opposed to signs of brain
swelling, which we commonly see after a brain trauma. We can look at somebody’s
retina with an ophthalmoscope and see signs of swelling
around the optic nerve called papilledema, which can
occur after a brain trauma. Papilledema, the swelling
of the optic nerve, we can see associated with
a number of conditions, such as brain
tumors, head traumas. So sometimes the finding is not
specific to the pathology that caused the finding, but it
certainly gives us good clues.

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