Optic Pathway Glioma

Also known as: OPG, optic nerve glioma, optic pathway tumor.

What is optic pathway glioma?

Glioma is a specific type of slow growing tumor that starts in one of the cells of the brain or spinal cord. When this tumor grows on or around the visual system (the conducting pathway that sends signals from the eyes to the brain which includes the optic nerve, optic tract, the chasm and the optic radiation and which allows a child to “see” images) it is known as an optic pathway glioma. Most are diagnosed in children less than 5 years of age.

What causes optic pathway glioma? 

The cause is unclear. It tends to occur more often in children with a condition called neurofibromatosis 1.

What are the symptoms of optic pathway glioma? 

Young infants/children may not complain of vision loss (or vision difficulties including difficulty reading, turning the head to see things out of the corner of the eye), but may present with rapid side to side eye movements, bobbing and tilting of the head, bulging eye, hormonal problems (as the optic and endocrine systems lie close to each other), weight gain, salt and water balance, sleep problems, abnormal growth, early puberty and frequent urination.

What are optic pathway glioma care options? 

Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, hormone therapy, surgery to relieve symptoms or radiation therapy, and medications to relieve pain and the side effects of therapy may be utilized.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:13:28 PM

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