The term optic neuritis describes inflammation that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of fibers that the body uses to transmit visual information from eyes to the brain. This type of inflammation is linked to multiple sclerosis (MS).
Signs of Optic Neuritis
The signs of optic neuritis are usually present in one eye. Common symptoms include:
- Vision Loss – Some patients experience a temporary reduction in eyesight. The effect can vary and be more severe in some cases. This symptom usually appears over hours or days and can improve across weeks or months. Vision loss can become permanent.
- Eye Pain – Eye pain may be reported. This is usually worsened when the eye moves. It often feels like a dull aching behind the affected eye.
- Less Vivid Colors – The patient’s ability to see colors are often decreased.
- Flashing Lights – Some patients see flashing or flickering lights when they move their eye.
- Loss of Visual Field – A loss of side vision can occur.
Other Causes of Optic Neuritis
Modern medicine doesn’t know the exact cause of optic neuritis. Patients who have the condition have a 50% risk of developing MS in their lifetime. Other possible causes or factors include:
- Medications – Some medications like quinine and certain antibiotics have been associated with reports of optic neuritis.
- Infections & Viruses – Lyme disease, syphilis, cat-scratch fever, mumps, measles, herpes, and other viruses and bacterial infections can cause optic neuritis.
- Diseases – Patients diagnosed with lupus, sarcoidosis, and other diseases may experience recurrent optical neuritis.
Do I Need to See a Doctor About Optic Neuritis?
If you suspect that you have a serious eye condition, then you should see an ophthalmologist right away. Contact Grosinger, Spigelman & Grey to schedule an appointment if you notice changes in your eyes, if you develop new symptoms, or if your symptoms don’t improve with treatment.