Optic Nerve Glioma

Optic Nerve Glioma

Optic nerve gliomas are slow-growing tumors that typically affect children. They are also known as optic pathway gliomas. Optic nerve glioma is the most common primary neoplasm of the optic nerve. Optic nerve gliomas reduce visual acuity in the affected eye and sometimes produce additional symptoms as the tumor grows. Benign optic glioma (a low-grade form of this neoplasm) occurs most often in pediatric patients, while aggressive glioma is most common in adults and is fatal, even with treatment.

Malignant gliomas (glioblastomas) make-up about 1% of all intracranial tumors. These tumors, although rare, almost always occur in adult males; the prognosis is very poor, resulting in almost certain death within one year.

Almost 10% of all optic pathway tumors are located within an optic nerve. About 30% of the tumors involve both optic nerve and chiasm, 30% involve predominantly the chiasm itself and 25% are predominantly in the hypothalamus. 15% of gliomas are multicentric.

Optic nerve glioma is the most common primary neoplasm of the optic nerve and can affect:

  • One or both of the optic nerves that carry visual information to the brain from each eye.
  • The optic chiasm, the area where the optic nerves cross each other in front of the hypothalamus.

An optic nerve glioma may also grow along with a hypothalamic glioma.

Optic Nerve Glioma Symptoms

Optic nerve glioma symptoms are due to tumor growth putting pressure on the optic nerve and nearby structures. Symptoms may include:

  • Involuntary eyeball movement
  • Outward bulging of one or both eyes
  • Squinting
  • Vision loss in one or both eyes beginning with the loss of peripheral vision and eventually leading to blindness

Children may show symptoms of diencephalic syndrome, which includes:

  • Daytime sleeping
  • Decreased memory and brain function
  • Delayed growth
  • Loss of appetite and body fat

Getting Diagnosed

Our team of specialists provides the most up-to-date evaluations using the latest diagnostic and imaging technology.

We work very closely with the departments of Neurosurgery, Interventional Neuroradiology, Neurology and Radiation Oncology, as well as the Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Center and Skull Base Center to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.


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The Neuroscience Institute

We are dedicated to the world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.