Diagnosis and Complications of Optic Neuritis | Ophthalmology

Optic Neuritis

What is optic neuritis?

Optic neuritis happens when growing (inflammation) harms the optic nerve – a gathering of nerve filaments that communicate visual data from your eye to your cerebrum. Common symptoms of optic neuritis incorporate agony with eye development and brief loss of vision in one eye.

The signs and symptoms of optic neuritis can be the first indication of multiple sclerosis (MS), or they can occur later in the context of MS. Multiple sclerosis is a sickness that makes irritation and harm nerves in the mind just like the optic nerve.

In addition to MS, optic neuritis can occur with other conditions, including infections or immune diseases, such as lupus. Rarely, another disease called neuromyelitis optica may cause inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord.

Most people who have one episode of optic neuritis eventually recover their eyesight without treatment. Sometimes, steroid medications may speed up vision restoration after optic neuritis.

Symptoms of optic neuritis

This condition usually appears quickly, within a few hours or days. You may notice some of these symptoms:

  • Pain when moving your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of colour vision
  • Trouble seeing the side
  • A hole in the centre of your vision
  • Blindness in rare cases
  • Headache – a dull ache behind your eyes

Adults usually develop optic neuritis in only one eye, but children can develop it in both. Some people get better within a few weeks, even without treatment. For others, it could take up to a year. Few people never regain their eyesight. Even when other symptoms are clear, they may still have problems with night vision or colour vision.

If you have MS, the heat may worsen your optic neuritis symptoms again as well – usually after a hot shower, exercise, fever, or bout of the flu. Once it subsides, the problems usually go away.

What causes optic neuritis?

The reason for optic neuritis isn’t surely known. Most cases are idiopathic, which implies they have no recognizable reason. The most well-known cause is MS. In fact, optic neuritis is often the first symptom of MS. Optic neuritis can also be caused by an infection or an inflammatory immune system response.

These include nerve diseases that can cause optic neuritis:

  • MS
  • Neuromyelitis Optica
  • Schilder’s illness (A constant demyelinating condition that starts in adolescence)

Infections that may cause optic neuritis to include:

  • Mumps
  • Lyme disease
  • Viral encephalitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Shingles
  • Measles
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis

Other causes may include:

  • Sarcoidosis, which is a disease that causes inflammation in various organs and tissues
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease in which your immune system attacks your nervous system
  • Post-vaccination reaction, an immune response after vaccinations
  • Certain chemicals or medications

How do health care professionals diagnose optic neuritis?

It is associated dependent on the trademark history with eye pain and vision loss. The standard test incorporates visual acuity, pupil reduction, visual field assessment, colour vision test, and optic disc visualization by immediate and backhanded ophthalmoscopy.

An individual encountering the first scene of this disease ought to go through an MRI of the cerebrum to screen for central nervous system injuries related to multiple sclerosis. If there is active inflammation in the brain, single or multiple brain lesions may be seen that are illuminated (reinforced) by injection of contrast material. An MRI may also show an enlarged optic nerve or an inflammation of the optic nerve sheath.

Visual symptoms usually develop in the first few weeks and then start to improve within the first month. If the healing path is not typical, further tests may be done to look for unusual causes of polyneuropathy.

Who is at risk for optic neuritis?

You are more likely to develop this disease if:

  • I was a female between 18 and 45 years old
  • Have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • You live at a high latitude

How is optic neuritis treated?

At times, you may not require any treatment for this disease. After a few weeks, it may disappear on its own and your vision will return to normal. This is more likely to happen if you don’t have another health condition that caused this disease.

Sometimes, your healthcare provider may recommend a short course of steroids, usually given as an injection into a vein, to help improve your vision more quickly and reduce inflammation and swelling. You may also need treatment for another health condition if it is the source of this disease.


Complications may include:

  • Damage to the optic nerve: Most people experience some permanent damage to the optic nerve after an episode of this disease, but this damage may not cause permanent symptoms.
  • Reduced visual acuity: Most people recover normal or near-normal vision within several months, but partial loss of colour discrimination may persist. For some people, vision loss continues.
  • Side effects of treatment: Steroid meds used to treat this disease curb your safe framework, making your body more vulnerable to contamination. Opposite results incorporate mindset changes and weight gain.


Once a person’s vision is restored to normal, people can develop this disease again. This is the case for people who already have multiple sclerosis.

If symptoms return, it is imperative to consult a doctor immediately. Prompt treatment of recurrent symptoms can help prevent future episodes of this disease.

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