Cranial Nerve II Optic Nerve

The principal function of the optic nerve is vision. Testing of the optic nerve includes assessment of visual acuity and visual fields, funduscopic examination, and pupillary light reflex. Visual acuity is assessed in each eye individually. Visual fields are evaluated by confrontation. When performing the fun-duscopic examination, look for papilledema, hemorrhages, cholesterol emboli, and atrophy. Atrophy is characterized by a small, pale disc. Pupillary function assesses CNs II and III as well as sympathetic activity. The direct and consensual responses require CNs II and III to work correctly. If CN II is damaged, an afferent pupillary defect is often present. If the optic nerve is damaged, the light reflex is sluggish.

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