Optic Neuritis - Part 2

Optic Neuritis is a symptom of MS. But how will you know what it is if you have it? If you arrived here first, and want to read the first part, use this link.

Symptoms of optic neuritis

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, then this condition may be the cause. You will need to see a doctor or neurologist to find out for sure.

  • blurred or dimmed vision
  • blind spots, especially with central vision
  • pain when moving eyes
  • headache
  • sudden color blindness
  • impaired night vision
  • impaired contrast sensitivity

Other causes


Tumors or vascular diseases can cause pressure on the nerve. Certain toxins, like lead can also cause damage to the optic nerve. The same thing can happen for those who are long time abusers of alcohol or if you are a habitual smoker.

An MRI can determine whether or not you have neuritis. It can also show whether or not it was caused by multiple sclerosis.

Treatment options

A course of steroids given by IV followed by oral steroids, is usually used to clear up neuritis in patients with MS. Oral prednisone alone might actually cause the neuritis to keep coming back, so it's no longer a recommended treatment.

If the cause is from something other than multiple sclerosis, the neuritis usually clears up once the cause is treated.

Will it come back?


As I said earlier, Cir's doctor didn't even treat his neuritis and it cleared up on it's own. I'm not sure if that was the method of treatment at the time. But that's what he did. Fortunately, it did clear up and his vision, was not any worse than it was before.

Apparently, remission occurs within a few weeks. You may have more than one episode of optic neuritis during the course of your disease, however. With each episode, your vision may not fully recover. It may get progressively worse.

It is very important to get treatment early when you do experience any eye problems. If atrophy (or death) of the nerve occurs, permanent damage will be the result.


Does it always lead to ms?

Half of people that have an episode of neuritis in their optic nerve will go on to develop MS within about fifteen years. Cir's diagnosis was about that long after he developed neuritis in his right eye. He did have other symptoms that indicated that he might have multiple sclerosis long before he was diagnosed in 1993.

Can it be prevented?

A first episode of optic neuritis will most likely happen unexpectedly. It may be possible to prevent future episodes by doing the following things. Get an eye exam every year to make sure your eyes are healthy. You can possibly catch any problems before they become serious.

One of the things Cir did when he first found out he had optic neuritis was to begin taking vitamin B 100 complex. This is one of the alternative treatments that has remained constant since his doctor told him he had it.

He occasionally has very slight vision problems when he gets overly tired or stressed. Things will look a little dimmer or duller. (We just turn on more lights). But a full recurrence has not happened in the twenty to thirty years or so that he has had MS.

If you do experience any eye problems, call your doctor to see if you need to be seen. The earlier cause is determined and treatment is started, the more likely any permanent damage can be prevented.

<-----Go from Part 2 back to Optic Neuritis Part 1

<-----Go back to Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

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