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Pituitary Tumors And Your Vision

Being diagnosed with a tumor can feel scary. Pituitary tumors are often small and non-cancerous. Your primary care eye doctor will work with you to help you understand your tumor. Even small, non-cancerous tumors on the pituitary gland can cause issues with your vision.

What Does The Pituitary Gland Control?

The pituitary gland is known as the “master gland” due to the many components of the body that it controls. The pituitary gland controls reproductive functions, as well as stress hormone production and metabolism.

One common type of pituitary tumor is known as a pituitary adenoma. Many of these tumors are small, but some grow to be large. Over time, a large pituitary adenoma can push on the areas of the brain that control vision. These tumors often grow slowly, and vision changes go unnoticed because they occur so gradually.

Why Does A Pituitary Tumor Affect Vision?

The optic nerves meet near the pituitary gland. When a large tumor pushes on this bundle of nerves, vision distortion or loss may occur. Some people only experience loss of peripheral vision, while others experience total vision loss. Many people do not notice that their vision is changing until it is lost to the point that it’s difficult or impossible to drive or read.

While most people with this issue experience vision loss in both eyes, some may only experience vision loss in one eye. Others may find that they experience double vision, uneven pupil size, numbness that only affects one side of the face, or droopy eyelids.

If you experience these conditions and aren’t sure why it’s important to be seen by your eye doctor to rule out underlying issues.

Seeing A Neuro-Ophthalmologist

When you have a tumor that affects both your brain and your vision, it’s important to see a doctor who specializes in how these systems work together. A neuro-ophthalmologist can work with you to help you manage your symptoms, and can keep an eye on changes in your vision to help you decide if it’s time for treatment to preserve your vision.

Pituitary Tumor Treatment

For many people who experience pituitary tumors, no treatment is necessary at all. Monitoring the size of the tumor with regular appointments may be all that’s recommended by your doctor. If treatment is recommended, your doctor may schedule surgery, prescribe medications, or use radiation to stop the tumor from continuing to grow.

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