World Brain Tumour Day 2021: Did You Know Some Brain Tumours Can Cause Loss of Sight?

If you have any vision related problems, discuss with an ophthalmologist.

Loss of vision due to brain tumour can be gradual, beginning with blurry or double vision and resulting in increasing blind spots. A Stroke Neurologist tells us more about brain tumour and related eye problems on World Brain Tumour Day. Read on...

Brain tumour is a collection of abnormal cells or mass inside a brain. Our brain is surrounded by the skull, which is very rigid. Any growth inside such a restricted space can cause problems. Though brain tumours are rare, they are common in children than adults. A brain tumour can be both cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). Any growing tumours can increase the pressure inside our skull and an increased pressure can cause a brain damage. Brain tumours can cause eye-related problems, and even loss of vision in some patients. As we observe World Brain Tumour Day 2021, Dr PN Renjen, Stroke Neurologist, Institutes of Neurosciences, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, joins us to shed light on how brain tumours affect vision in patients.

Brain tumour and vision problem

A vision problem can develop when a tumour causes pressure on a certain area of the brain. The occipital lobe is responsible for processing everything that a person sees, a tumour in that region of the brain can cause multiple issues. Also, a tumour affecting the brain stem can result in double vision. Eye problems can also occur when a tumour exerts pressure on the optic nervous or if the pressure within the skull causes the back of eye to swell.

If a tumour exerts enough pressure on the optic nerve, blindness can occur. In many patients, loss of vision can be gradual, beginning with blurry or double vision and resulting in increasing blind spots. A growing tumour can exert more pressure on the optic nerve and cause a greater vision loss. Hence, it's critical to discuss vision related problems with an ophthalmologist or a primary care doctor.

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What types of tumours can affect your vision?

Orbital tumours can cause vision problems and blindness since they grow into the bony sockets that hold eyes, nerves and connective tissues that control eye movements. Some common orbital tumours include :-

  • Sarcomas
  • Fibrous histiocytomas
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Paranasal sinus tumours

Different types of brain tumours

A brain tumour can be of different types. Here are some of them :-

  1. Primary brain tumours: Which can originate in the brain and be developed from
  • brain cells
  • nerve cells
  • the membranes that surround the brain; called meninges
  • glands
  1. Secondary brain tumours: This type of brain tumour contributes for most of the brain cancers. They can spread or metastasize. Such tumours are always malignant.
  2. Other types of brain tumours are:-
  • Pituitary tumour
  • Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Primary germ cell tumours of the brain

Symptoms of brain tumour one should be aware of

The symptoms of brain tumour depend on the location and size of tumours. Tumours can cause both direct and indirect damage to the brain. Damage can be caused by the invasion of brain tissues and pressure caused on the surrounding brain.

  • Headaches are a common symptom of brain tumours but one can experience some hard hitting and excruciating headaches, which worsen in the morning while waking up.
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred Vision
  • Change in mental function and
  • Blurred or double vision

Mode of treatment

Advances in technology have made the treatment for brain tumour safer than ever before. Tumours which were initially considered inoperable can now be safely operated upon, some can be cured even without a surgery. MRI scan is usually the mode of diagnosis administered for locating and knowing the characteristics of the brain tumours. It is always advised to visit your doctors on experiencing any of the unusual symptoms, a timely diagnosis can always help a doctor in treating a case better.

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