Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history, conduct a physical examination and order several tests.

Eye exams

A doctor trained in eye conditions (ophthalmologist) may conduct an eye examination.

If pseudotumor cerebri is suspected, your eye doctor will look for a distinctive type of swelling affecting the optic nerve, called papilledema, in the back of your eye.

You'll also undergo a visual fields test to see if there are any blind spots in your vision besides your so-called normal blind spot in each eye where the optic nerve enters the retina.

Brain imaging

Your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan. These tests can rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms, such as brain tumors and blood clots.

Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)

Your doctor may order a lumbar puncture to measure the pressure inside your skull, as well as your glucose and protein levels.

In this test, a specialist inserts a needle between two vertebrae in your lower back and removes a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing in the laboratory.

Feb. 01, 2014

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