The Retina Reference

Pseudotumor Cerebri

Pseudotumor Cerebri Pseudotumor cerebri, also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, is a condition caused by an increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure without the presence of a brain tumor. Cerebrospinal fluid is made but does not drain properly. The condition often presents with symptoms suggestive of a brain tumor, but brain scans are normal. The condition is most commonly found in childbearing women between the ages of 20-50 years and is often associated with obesity. It can be a side effect of medications such as large doses of vitamin A or after use of tetracycline. Symptoms include headache, mostly at the back of the head, blurred vision, dizziness, stiff neck and forgetfulness or depression. Patients can experience episodes of blurred vision that come and go, double vision, and loss of peripheral vision. Diagnosis requires a series of tests including fundus photography, visual field testing, brain MRI, and finally, after a normal MRI, a spinal tap to confirm an elevated opening pressure. Treatment includes weight loss, diuretics and observation. In more severe cases a spinal fluid shunt may be placed to reduce the pressure.