Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is a medical condition that involves damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to sudden and painless loss of vision in one or both eyes. NAION occurs when there is a disruption in the blood supply to the optic nerve, causing ischemia (lack of oxygen and nutrients) and damage to the nerve fibers.
NAION typically affects people over the age of 50, and is more common in those who have other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea. It may also be associated with the use of medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).
Symptoms of NAION typically include sudden loss of vision in one eye, often described as a “curtain” or “veil” over the affected eye, and may be accompanied by other visual disturbances, such as blurred vision, dimming of colors, or difficulty seeing in low light conditions. Some people may also experience eye pain, headache, or nausea.
There is no cure for NAION, but treatments may be available to manage the underlying causes and prevent further vision loss. Treatment may involve medications to control high blood pressure, diabetes, and other underlying conditions. In some cases, certain therapies, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy or corticosteroids, may be recommended to improve blood flow to the optic nerve and reduce inflammation.
Prevention of NAION involves managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea, as well as avoiding medications that may increase the risk of developing the condition. Regular eye exams with an ophthalmologist can help to detect and manage NAION early, reducing the risk of vision loss.