When the Brain Affects Vision — Neuro-Ophthalmology

At Central Valley Eye Medical, we’re proud of the expertise and experience of our ophthalmologists and optometrists and the range of services and conditions they can provide and treat.

One of those areas of specialization rarely offered is the area of neuro-ophthalmology. This subspecialty of ophthalmology focuses on the diagnosis and management of brain disorders that affect vision. Dr. Kimberly Cockerham is our board-certified ophthalmologist with fellowship training in neuro-ophthalmology.

What is a neuro-ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists treat eye and visual problems. Neurologists deal with issues of the brain. A neuro-ophthalmologist is in the middle, handling brain issues that affect vision.

What disorders does Dr. Cockerham cover?

These disorders are all related to problems with the patient’s optic nerve:

  • Unexplained visual loss
  • Papilledema (swelling of the optic nerve head)
  • Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
  • Compressive optic neuropathy
  • Traumatic optic neuropathy
  • Hereditary optic neuropathy
  • Vascular optic neuropathy

These disorders in the brain can lead to double vision:

  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cranial nerve dysfunction

What are some neurological conditions that can lead to vision changes?

Foremost in these conditions would be a stroke. Brain aneurysms and brain tumors can cause vision changes. Brain infections, if located in certain parts of the brain, can also impact vision.

How do the eyes and brain work together?

Our eyes operate like two cameras and it’s up to our brain to process the images. Images the eye sees hit the retina in the back of the eyes. Information is passed from the retina up to the brain through the optic nerves. When the information arrives at the visual center in the brain the brain must take the two slightly different images coming from each eye and merge them together so that we see only a single image.

Do you have questions about your eyesight? Is it time for your regular eye exam? Please call the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group at (800) 244-9907 to make an appointment.

Posted in: Neuro-Ophthalmology


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Dear Friends,

We at Central Valley Eye hope that you and your families are well. To continue to protect the health of our patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, we are taking all reasonable precautions as we provide the eye care that our community needs:

  • All patients and staff must now wear masks within the clinic building. Please bring one from home.
  • Whenever appropriate, we are rescheduling patients with fever, cough, or cold symptoms
  • We have adjusted our schedule to decrease the number of patients in our waiting rooms
  • We have increased our already strict sanitizing practices
  • Whenever appropriate, we are diverting visits to telemedicine (by cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop). Please contact us for further details at 209-952-3700.

If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

Following state guidelines, the doctors at Central Valley Eye have recently resumed performing elective surgeries. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that needed to be postponed. We appreciate your patience during this time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 209-952-3700.

Warmest regards,

Brandy Simpson
Practice Manager
Central Valley Eye Medical Group, Inc.