Septo-optic dysplasia

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Septo-optic dysplasia

Question

My 1-year-old son has just been diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia. The main concern is his eyes. Can this be treated?

Amanda
Iowa

Answer

Septo-optic dysplasia is a rare disorder in which the nerve from the eye to the brain is underdeveloped (optic nerve hypoplasia). People with this condition may also have abnormalities of the brain and pituitary gland. There's no cure for this disorder. Treatment is directed at managing the signs and symptoms.

Normally, you have more than 1 million nerve fibers connecting each eye to your brain. People with septo-optic dysplasia have far fewer connections. This results in:

  • Involuntary and unusual eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Decreased vision in one or both eyes or even blindness

Other signs and symptoms of septo-optic dysplasia include:

  • Hormone problems due to underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental retardation

The exact cause of septo-optic dysplasia isn't known. Signs and symptoms of the disorder range from mild to severe. Treatment may include:

  • Corrective lenses to correct astigmatism
  • Hormone therapy
  • Physical and occupational therapy

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