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 you and your families are well. During these uncertain times, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep patients and staff healthy as COVID-19 infections continue to rise. We are following CDC and American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines, including extra diligent cleaning, and disinfecting around the office. Our waiting rooms have been reconfigured to allow more distance between chairs, and we are turning away all non-urgent patients who are symptomatic with cough or fever.

In keeping with government and institutional guidelines, as well as to promote the practice of "staying at home," we are implementing new restrictions. Starting March 20th, we will be limiting our clinic only to patients with eye conditions that could permanently threaten vision if not addressed within two months. This means that many appointments will need to be rescheduled. Additionally, some of our office locations may be closed on certain days, as patient volumes are expected to decrease significantly. If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

The clinic is also establishing a telemedicine service to address eye problems that are less urgent, which can be managed over the phone by a physician.

The doctors at Central Valley Eye will not be performing any non-urgent surgeries until further notice. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that need to be postponed.

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.