Optic Neuritis and Multiple Sclerosis

Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis is one of the first symptoms that lead Cir to believe that there might be something seriously wrong. He did seek help when he had balance issues. 

But partial blindness? That was something he couldn't handle. Cir is a very visual person and blindness, partial or otherwise, was unacceptable. Not if there was something he could do about it.

Optometrist or ophthalmologist?

Optometrist or Opthalmologist

He first went to an optometrist. He had always worn glasses, so this was a logical course of action. His eye doctor couldn't find anything wrong. But he did suggest that Cir go to an ophthalmologist.

The ophthalmologist did an exam and called Cir in to explain what he'd found. He told Cir he had neuritis in his optic nerve. The doctor also said that it looked like the cause of it might be multiple sclerosis.

The "Not" diagnosis

The doctor said that the neuritis would go away on it's own. It did. The eact cause of the it was not definite. And he did not really give Cir a diagnosis for it.  He merely suggested that it looked like multiple sclerosis.

Cir also did a little research on his own. He worked at a health store at the time. He had access to several books that dealt with nutritional supplements and other natural treatments for conditions and diseases. One of the alternative treatments for neuritis in your eyes was vitamin B complex.

He began taking it and still takes it to this day. As far as I know, he hasn't had another episode of optic neuritis during the course of his MS.

The neuritis occurred when he was in his early 20's. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 34. This was quite a few years after the episode. Vitamin B complex has always been part of his vitamin regimen. Sooo,....apparently it works, but we'll keep you posted.

What is Optic Neuritis?

Very simply, neuritis can show up as blurred vision or pain in the eye. Cir said he had a blind spot right in the middle of his right eye. Others have actually gone totally blind for a short period of time.

Cir's neurologist told him early on, that if Cir ever had a relapse which caused optic neuritis, to call him right away. At that time, the neurologist felt a course of steroids would quickly stop the inflammation in the optic nerve. This would keep Cir from having any permanent damage, or possibly from going blind.

The medical definition

According to the medical dictionary, this type of neuritis is a vision disorder characterized by inflammation of the optic nerve. It occurs when the optic nerve becomes inflamed. The myelin sheath which surrounds and protects the nerve is destroyed. This is called demyelination.

Most of time only one eye is affected at a time. Vision loss usually happens very quickly. It is also temporary. A few people, about thirty percent of those who get this type of neuritis, experience it in both eyes.

It tends to affect young adults and the majority of them are women. These facts relate very closely with those of multiple sclerosis. The damage that occurs in the optic nerve behind the eyeball is called, retrobulbar neuritis.

To read about the symptoms, treatments and more, go to Optic Neuritis - Part 2, click here. 

Go back to Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

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