Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Diagnosis of Meagan Adonis who is the founder of the organisation, Disabled Women Living With Dignity. She has been diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

What is idiopathic intracranial hypertension?

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) happens when high pressure around the brain causes symptoms like vision changes and headaches. “Idiopathic” means the cause isn’t known, “intracranial” means in the skull, and “hypertension” means high pressure.

What are the symptoms of IIH?

Symptoms can include:

• Headaches
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
• Temporary blindness
• Double vision
• Blind spots
• Neck and shoulder pain
• Peripheral (side) vision loss

How it leads to blindness

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), also known as pseudotumor cerebri, is a condition characterized by increased pressure within the skull without an identifiable cause. While IIH can cause various symptoms, one of the most concerning complications is visual impairment, which can progress to blindness.

The increased pressure inside the skull can affect the optic nerves, which are responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain. The optic nerves are particularly vulnerable to damage when under prolonged elevated pressure. This can lead to a condition called papilledema, which is swelling of the optic nerve head.

If IIH pressure persists, the optic nerves may sustain progressive damage. Over time, this can result in permanent vision loss, and in severe cases, it can lead to blindness.

It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of IIH, such as severe headaches, vision changes, ringing in the ears, and nausea, and seek medical attention promptly.

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