Optic Neuritis


Inflammation of the optic nerve, which may cause a sudden loss of all or part of the vision in the affected eye



The cause of optic neuritis may be unknown, but it is thought to be a result of swelling and destruction of the myelin coating of the optic nerve. The inflammation may be the result of a viral infection, or autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.




Signs And Tests

A complete medical examination may be indicated to rule out associated diseases. Tests may include:



Visual acuity may return to normal within 2 to 3 weeks with no treatment. Intravenous corticosteroid therapy may accelerate visual recovery, but may be associated with systemic side effects. If visual recovery does not occur, further diagnostic evaluation may be necessary. Occasionally, surgery is indicated to relieve pressure within the optic nerve sheath.




Calling Your Eye Doctor

Call your eye doctor if sudden loss of vision in one eye occurs. If you already know you have optic neuritis, call if vision decreases, pain in the eye develops, or if symptoms do not improve with treatment.



Most cases are not preventable.