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Detached optic nerve.

Posted by Ron on April 29, 1999 at 22:22:49
My kid brother was recently involved in a motorcycle accident and in the trauma ward at Vanderbilt for 17 days.  He recovered enough to be moved to rehabilitation, but now they say he is blind.  This supposedly occurred as a result of the amount of fluids and blood that was reintroduced into his system during thier life saving procedures.  My question is:  His opthalmologist has said that he will be permanently blind as a result of this.  Are there any procedures which may restore his sight, even if its only partially?  I'm really in a quandry here.
Also, they are waiting until the end of his physical rehab to inform him of his permanent blindness.  Is this standard?  What ever happened to giving it to you straight?

Posted by HFHS M.D.-JL on April 29, 1999 at 22:52:10
I am sorry to hear about your brothers accident.  This is unfortunate and hard for everyone to deal with.  It sounds as though your brother suffered wither optic nerve injuries or an occipital infarct as a result of hemmorhaging.  The prognosis for both of these are poor.  If vision is to return it is likely that the vision would improve within the first couple weeks.  If the vision hasn't shown signs of improvement at this point the prognosis for recovered vision is grim.  I must also admit that stranger things have happened.  There is no treatment at this point.  Regarding when to tell your brother of his probable permanent blindness, this is more of a personal choice as to when to tell.  I would ask you to discuss this with his ophthalmologist.  They may have hopes that his vision will improve.  Best of luck with his recovery.
This information was provided for medical educational purposes only.

Posted by Ron on April 30, 1999 at 17:14:40
Thank you for your time and concern.  We'll just have to wait and hope for the best, I suppose.  But, do you know of any research facilities who are specializing in the reconstruction of optic nerve fibers?

Posted by hfhs m.d.-jl on May 01, 1999 at 08:15:38
Not at this time.  Due to large number of nerve fibers, reconstruction of the optic nerve would be very difficult.

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