Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) happens when high pressure around the brain causes symptoms like vision changes and headaches. “Idiopathic” means the cause isn’t known, “intracranial” means in the skull, and “hypertension” means high pressure. IIH happens when too much cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up in your skull. This puts extra pressure on your brain and on the nerve in the back of your eye, called the optic nerve.

If you notice changes in your vision, talk to your Ophthalmologist. The doctor can determine if your symptoms are related to IIH or another condition.
  • Symptoms
  • Headache

    • Behind the eyes

    • Throbbing

    • Tight band-like pain around the head and neck

    • Occurs or worsens with bending down


    Transient visual loss


    Ringing in ears

    • Both ears

    • One ear


    Feel like vomiting


    Eye pain

    • Occurs or worsens with eye movement

    • Both eyes

    • In one eye

    • Behind the eye


    Eye flashing lights




    Intolerance to light


    Double vision

    Blurred vision

    Difficulty moving neck

    or Back pain

    • Radiates to the thighs

    • Lower

    or Back neck pain

    • Pain radiates to shoulder or arm


    Throwing up

  • Risk factors
  • Overweight or obese

    Use of growth hormone

    Use of vitamin A

    or Use of retinoids

    Use of tetracyclines

  • Treatment
  • Treatment includes a healthy diet, salt restriction, and exercise. The medication acetazolamide may also be used. A small percentage of people may require surgery to relieve the pressure.
  • Recommended specialist
  • If you have Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, then a visit to a neurologist is highly recommended.

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