Optic disk drusen in children

Melinda Y Chang, Stacy L. Pineles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Optic disk drusen occur in 0.4% of children and consist of acellular intracellular and extracellular deposits that often become calcified over time. They are typically buried early in life and generally become superficial, and therefore visible, later in childhood, at the average age of 12 years. Their main clinical significance lies in the ability of optic disk drusen, particularly when buried, to simulate true optic disk edema. Misdiagnosing drusen as true disk edema may lead to an invasive and unnecessary workup for elevated intracranial pressure. Ancillary testing, including ultrasonography, fluorescein angiography, fundus autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography, may aid in the correct diagnosis of optic disk drusen. Complications of optic disk drusen in children include visual field defects, hemorrhages, choroidal neovascular membrane, nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, and retinal vascular occlusions. Treatment options for these complications include ocular hypotensive agents for visual field defects and intravitreal anti–vascular endothelial growth factor agents for choroidal neovascular membranes. In most cases, however, children with optic disk drusen can be managed by observation with serial examinations and visual field testing once true optic disk edema has been excluded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-758
Number of pages14
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • children
  • choroidal neovascular membrane
  • optic disk drusen
  • pediatric
  • pseudopapilledema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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