Optic nerve sheath meningiomas (ONSM) are rare benign tumors of the optic nerve. 60–70% of cases occur in middle age females, and is more common in older adults (mean age 44.7 years). It is also seen in children, but this is rare. The tumors grow from cells that surround the optic nerve, and as the tumor grows, it compresses the optic nerve. This causes loss of vision in the affected eye. Rarely, it may affect both eyes at the same time.
It is typically a slow growing tumor, and has never been reported to cause death. However, there is concern that the tumor can grow into the brain and cause other types of neurological damage. In some patients, the tumor grows so slowly that treatment is not necessary. Standard treatments are observation, surgery, radiation therapy, and combinations of the above.
When ONSM is suspected, MRI of the brain or orbits should be performed. This will usually show characteristic findings and confirm the diagnosis.
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