What is Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension?
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition where pressure inside your head rises, causing vision problems, headaches and other symptoms. This happens when fluid from the brain (called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) does not flow out of the head as it should.
When pressure around the brain is too high it can put pressure on the optic nerve causing it to swell. This may eventually damage the optic nerve, often causing vision loss. High pressure can also damage the nerves that move the eyes, causing double vision.
What causes idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
Doctors do not know for sure what causes IIH. However, they suspect hormones play a role since this condition is more common in young, overweight women.
Sometimes children and adults who are not overweight have IIH. These cases may be related to infection, or to using antibiotics, steroids or high doses of vitamin A.
What are symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension?
- Headaches, often at the back of your neck. These headaches may be so severe that they wake you up at night. Your headaches may be worse when you stoop or bend down.
- Vision changes. Your vision may seem dim, blurry, or dull. There may be short periods of time where your vision completely disappears. You might have trouble with peripheral (side) vision. You also may have double vision or other vision problems when you stoop down or bend over.
- Hearing problems, such as a rushing, swishing or ringing sound in your ear.
- Nausea and vomiting.