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Dr. Lee and Student

Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty that falls in a niche between ophthalmology and neurology. Most neurologists have difficulty examining the eye well and most ophthalmologists have difficulty with disorders that involve the brain or nervous system. A neuro-ophthalmologist is board certified in either ophthalmology or neurology and has pursued fellowship training in neuro-ophthalmology. Some examples of problems that are often referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist include:

  • brain tumors causing visual loss or double vision

  • unexplained visual loss
  • optic nerve diseases such as optic neuritis or ischemic optic neuropathy
  • swollen optic nerves
  • double vision
  • droopy eyelids
  • eye pain
  • giant cell arteritis
  • spastic closure of the eyelids such as hemifacial spasm and blepharospasm

The neuro-ophthalmology team includes two clinicians, Michael S Lee, MD and Andrew R Harrison, MD, a researcher in the basic sciences, Linda McLoon, PhD, and an administrator, Jody Fissgus. There are generally several medical students and residents learning and working in the clinics and patient-oriented research. There are also doctoral and postdoctoral students in the laboratory.

The neuro-ophthalmology service receives support from the Minnesota Lions and Research to Prevent Blindness. Private individuals have also made substantial contributions to enable its physicians to deliver outstanding care and to continue researching many of the debilitating diseases they encounter daily. The service is deeply grateful for those who have contributed through the Minnesota Medical Foundation. Some of the current research projects include:

  • Investigation of a new form of botulinum toxin for blepharospasm
  • Development of an animal model of ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Investigation of a novel nasal drug delivery for optic nerve protection
  • Transient monocular blindness in young patients
  • Effect of amantadine on corneal thickness
  • Multifocal electroretinograms in patients on hydroxychloroquine therapy
  • Incidence of lash ptosis in patients with congenital ptosis

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