Eight-year-old boy Alfie Barney started experiencing headaches, which his parents first attributed to nerves about going back to school.

However, according to a report from Mirror, after a routine eye examination, the schoolboy picked up a life-threatening brain condition. His mom decided to have his eyes tested after she noticed he had also developed a squint.

During the test, though, at Specsavers in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Derbyshire, Adnan Nawaz, the optician noticed right away, something was quite wrong and recommended that the boy be brought to the emergency.

Alfie was diagnosed with bilateral papilledema, a neurological condition that results from increased intracranial pressure.

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Science Times - Headache Can Lead to Life-Threatening Brain Condition; This is What Results From an 8-Year-Old Boy's Eye Examination
(Photo: Pixabay)
After a routine eye examination, the schoolboy picked up a life-threatening brain condition resulting from headaches.

Symptoms and Causes of Bilateral Papilledema

According to Healthline, the most typical early symptoms of papilledema are momentary changes to vision. Such changes may, at first, hardly be noticeable, along with double vision, blurring, seeing flashes, or even vision loss that lasts a few seconds.

If brain pressure persists, the said changes may stay for minutes at a certain period or longer. In some situations, they may stay permanently.

Essentially, the brain swelling causing papilledema triggers other symptoms that differentiate it from other eye conditions. These include feeling nauseous, experiencing abnormal headaches, throwing up, and tinnitus, a condition in which one hears a ringing or other noises in the ears.

Brain swelling can result from certain injuries and conditions, which include traumatic head injury, anemia or inadequate red blood cells, hydrocephalus or CSF buildup in the brain, hemorrhage or brain bleeding, encephalitis or brain inflammation, hypertension or high blood pressure, abscess or buildup of infected pus in the brain, brain tumor, and meningitis or brain tissue inflammation.

Lumbar Puncture

Fortunately, in the case of Alfie, the lumbar puncture treatment to help alleviate the swelling in his brain. Since then, the boy has fully recovered.

Earlier this year, the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open reported a 53-year-old male with a history of a brain aneurysm and diabetes mellitus reported to the emergency for intermittent pulsating headaches and transient bilateral visual loss.

His ophthalmologist then sent him in for bilateral papilledema. A lumbar puncture was also performed for his treatment.

Other Treatments

WebMD report specified that if tests show a medical problem, treating it should also cure papilledema. For example, there might be a need to take antibiotics for brain infection, surgery to remove a tumor or drain an abscess, or medication to dissolve a blood clot.

In addition, this report also indicated, the doctor may also be able to switch a problem medication. Otherwise, the symptoms will potentially guide a patient's treatment.

In the occurrence of slight papilledema and totally no symptoms, the doctors might just constantly check on the patient and do a regular examination to detect any vision problems as soon as possible.

Should the doctor rule out a life-threatening cause for the condition, he might recommend weight loss and a diuretic water pill, also known as acetazolamide.

The drug is helping bring down the pressure inside the head by reducing the amount of fluid in the body and the amount of fluid the brain is producing.

Related information about the condition is shown on Cybersight's YouTube video below:


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