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    You are here : Home » About MS » Symptoms » Optic Neuritis

    Optic Neuritis

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    Optic Neuritis

    1. What is it Optic Neuritis?

    Optic Neuritis is inflammation with accompanying demyelination of the Optic Nerve which serves the retina of the eye. It is a variable condition in which vision can be severely or moderately affected. It can either affect one only or both eyes concurrently or at different times and is usually reversible, with in some cases spontaneous recovery occurring.

    2. What are the symptoms of Optic Neuritis?

    • Blurring of vision occurs in around 58% of optic neuritis cases. This can range from mild blurriness in 34% of cases, through moderate (12%), to severe or total loss of light perception (complete blindness) in 54% of cases.

    • Eye pain occurs in 53% to 88% of optic neuritis presentations. Sometimes pain is only noticeable with eye movement, sometimes pain preceded an episode of blurred vision, or a general eye ache, sometimes a headache gripping the affected eye, or a generalised dull headache.

    • Reduced colour vision occurs in 100% of optic neuritis cases. Typically this is reported as a reduction in colour vividness, particularly reds.

    • Visual flashing sensations brought about by side-to-side eye movement or sound often occur with optic neuritis. They are most obvious in a dimly lit room. Obscuration of the visual field in bright light is another common symptom of optic neuritis and many people with ON, particularly those with a chronic condition, report that they see better in dimly lit rooms. It is likely that both of these symptoms are caused by fluctuating interference of the nerve transmissions along the visual pathways.

    • Uhthoff's symptom, the worsening of symptoms with heat or exhaustion, is present in about 58% of cases of Optic Neuritis.

    3. What tests and treatments are available for Optic Neuritis?

    a)Tests:-

    • Mostly, doctors will diagnose optic neuritis by asking about a person’s history and observing typical signs.

    • A blood test may be carried out to help identify the cause.

    • Electrical testing of how the optic nerves are working, called ‘visual evoked potentials’ or scans of the optic nerves can sometimes help as well.

    b) Treatments:-

    • IV (Intravenous) Steroids - Corticosteroids have been the mainstay of treatment for the management of acute relapses for many years. They have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects that restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier and possibly facilitate remyelination and improve axonal conduction. Corticosteroid therapy has been shown to shorten the duration and severity of the relapse and accelerate recovery, but there is no convincing evidence that the overall degree of recovery is improved or that the long-term course of the disease is altered.

    Brief courses of high-dose intravenous (IV) methylprednisolone (IVMP, 500-1000 mg/day for 3-5 days) are generally given on a day- patient basis in hospitals, some doctors opting for a tailing-off dose of oral prednisilone tablets.

    Copaxone (Glatiramer Acetate) and the Beta-Interferons (Rebif, Avonex and Betaseron) have all been shown to reduce the probability and severity of reoccurrences of ON in addition to the other symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

    Aimspro or Goat Serum - read the lastest research on Aimpsro and Optic Neuritis here.

    Supplements and Alternative Remedies for Optic Neuritis:-

    Blueberries, Vitamin D, Vit A. ,Devils' Claw, Bromelain, Lutein, Beta- Carotene, Zinc, Selenium and Copper

    Essential Fatty Acids lower levels of Interleukin 12 and raise levels of Interleukin 10 are good These include Omegas 3 and 6, Fish Oils, Flax Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E in high Doses

    For further information on the role of Essential Fatty Acids … http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.htm

    • A Homeopathic Remedy:-
    Phosphorus appears to be specific for sometimes helping optic neuritis. A reasonable prescription for optic neuritis would be phosphorus 30C every day until resolution begins. Combining this with hypericum seems effective. The double vision which sometimes occurs can be helped with gelsemium.

    4. Recovery in Optic Neuritis.

    • Most recover well from optic neuritis. Following ON,vision tends to recover by itself. Nearly 80 per cent of people show signs of improvement by three weeks and over 90 per cent begin to recover within five weeks. Further improvement in vision can happen up to a year after symptoms begin.

    Recovery from ON is often complete and even in the worst cases patients seldom fail to recover some sight. In around 65-80% of patients, the sight recovers to 20/30 or better, although many report some enduring visual deficits.

    Further improvement in vision can happen up to a year after symptoms begin.

    5. Personal Experiences of Optic Neuritis.

    “For me, it's all white, like living in a heavy fog. Sometimes I think I can almost see movement, especially if there's a lot of light. Conversely, I'm photophobic so too much light hurts and gives me a headache . I had some eye pain and that sort of thing- I still do now and then and one eye seems to get more light than the other.”

    • “Optic Neuritis was my first presenting symptom of MS, picked up by my optician when I went with what I thought was a flash in my eye. I woke up one morning with a sort of flash like sensation at the top of my left eye.

    This first time, it cleared up by itself in about 10 days but almost immediately went into the other eye. The best way I can describe it is the vision just disappeared from the centre of my eye as if someone had put a huge thumbprint on my glasses that wouldn't wipe off. Reds were also very bright and some colours had a washed outlook to them. Reading was a no-no as parts of words just wouldn't be there and when the blurring happened, I just couldn't see anything on the page.

    I had no pain in either eye but the frustrating, frightening feelings I had have left their mark. I remember being in the shower and unable to find the shampoo when it got really bad. I recall crumbling to the floor of the bath and sobbing like a baby!

    I ended up have IV Steroids for 3 days and my vision returned to normal in a few months.

    I’ve heard some people saying resting can help but in my experience it doesn't really work - it's very hard to rest your eyes , in my opinion!”

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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