Pituitary Tumors And How They Can Detected By An Eye Exam
The pituitary gland is a pea sized organ located in the middle of the brain. It produces hormones that regulate throughout our body and help to stimulate other glands in hormone production. A pituitary tumor forms when there is an abnormal growth of cells within the pituitary gland. The instance of one is almost always benign, but if the pituitary tumor reaches a large size (a macroadenoma) it will impact the function of the structures around it including the eyes.
How Pituitary Tumors Impact Vision
The pituitary gland itself does not have a direct impact on our vision, however the growth of a pituitary tumor can exert pressure on the eyes, which in turn causes changes in vision. What’s worse, if a pituitary tumor is left untreated it could result in permanent loss of vision.
Signs and Symptoms of a Large Pituitary Tumor:
The following are symptoms which you might notice if you experience vision problems due to a pituitary tumor:
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Eye muscle weakness (eyes are not working together)
- Facial pain or numbness
- Sudden loss of vision
- Loss of consciousness
Pressure applied by the tumor to the optic chiasm (where the optic nerves meet) could result in loss of vision to both eyes. Whereas, tension to the nerves can cause weakness of the eye muscles, resulting in double vision.
When the optic nerve is compressed, patients can develop loss of peripheral vision gradually over time. This is not always noticeable to the patient. Yet another reason why a regular eye exam is so important for everyone. Here at Fisher Swale Nicholson Eye Center our doctors can perform visual field testing, optic nerve scans, muscle balance testing, as well as a detailed dilated exam.