Headache, visual loss and papilledema

Valerie I. Elmalem, Duaa Sharfi, Daniel Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses evaluation of nonorganic visual loss, migraine and other headache syndromes, photophobia and post-traumatic headache, papilledema, and idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Evaluation of visual loss can be challenging in the pediatric population. One must use several examination techniques to determine whether the visual loss is organic versus nonorganic and to determine the etiology and location within the visual pathway. We also describe the evaluation of headache in children and the concerning characteristics that warrant neuroimaging. Migraine, the most common headache syndrome, and other less common headache syndromes are discussed. Several features of post-traumatic headache overlap with migraine, including photophobia. Eye examination to determine the presence of papilledema is important in evaluation of all patients with headache. Papilledema signifies ominous etiologies of headache such as meningitis, intracranial tumor, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Untreated papilledema can lead to progressive visual loss.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPediatric Ophthalmology in the Emergency Room
Subtitle of host publicationEvaluation and Treatment
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030499501
ISBN (Print)9783030499495
StatePublished - 6 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster headache
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • Migraine headache
  • Nonorganic visual loss
  • Papilledema
  • Photophobia
  • Post-traumatic headache
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalgia
  • Visual aura


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