Optic disc edema

Last revised by Kelly Trinh on 17 May 2022

Optic disc edema refers to unilateral or bilateral swelling of the optic disc. 

Optic disc edema describes the swelling of nerve fiber layer at the optic nerve head, and it is the consequence of many different pathological processes. Optic disc edema is sometimes mistaken for papilledema because both refer to the swelling of the optic disc. Optic disc edema refers to the general swelling of the disc; meanwhile, papilledema is a subset of optic disc edema and is exclusively used for optic disc swelling due to increased intracranial pressure 1

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrates optic nerve sheath enlargement 4

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) presents an elevation of optic nerve head because of the peripapillary hyperreflective ovoid mass-like structures. Additionally, in patients with optic disc edema other than papilledema, optical coherence tomography shows an either flat or V-shaped retinal pigment epithelium/ Brunch's membrane (RPE/BM) layer 5,6

Treatment of optic disc edema includes diuretics such as acetazolamide, furosemide, etc. Steroids are also prescribed in some cases 3

Differential diagnosis for optic disc edema includes 1

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