Optic Nerve Disorders

Optic Nerve Eye Disease Symptoms Causes Treatments

How Optic Neuritis Happens & What To Do About It

When your optic nerve starts to become inflamed, this is an optic nerve disease known as Optic Neuritis. It does not even have to be the entire optic nerve, just any part of the nerve.

There are several reasons for neuritis to occur. The most commonly encountered cause is multiple sclerosis (MS) which is an autoimmune disease. What happens is that MS will attack the body’s central nervous system, and part of this system is the optic nerve.

Sometimes, one can get neuritis because of a viral infection, and if this is the case, then the chances of recovery with steroid medication is very high.

The most common symptoms of optic neuritis are pain, loss of color vision, and visual loss. There are no rules about whether one eye or both eyes will be affected. In some cases, it starts with blurred vision on one eye, but in other cases, both eyes are affected. The pain, on the other hand, is more extreme at the onset, but this usually dissipates or lessens after 2 weeks. The pain is mainly related to eye movement, so the less eye movement, the less pain. There are other less common symptoms like weakness in your limbs which might be cause by a neurological problem; or worsening vision.

The minute you notice pain when you move your eyes or a difference in your vision like blurred vision, you should schedule a consultation with an eye doctor. This is because if left unattended and untreated, you could lose your eyesight, or have impaired vision. At the very least, your vision could be hampered for a few months while you are being treated.

Other causes of this eye disease are Neuromyelitis Optica which is more severe than MS because it has to do with the optic nerve and your spine. This eye disease can also be caused by bacterial infection like HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, or herpes; cranial arteritis which blocks the blood flow from your eyes to your brain; drugs like ethambutol; or diabetes.

Treatments must be administered and overseen by a doctor, and these usually entail intravenous or oral steroids. For extreme cases, plasma exchange therapy will be used. With the right treatment and proper medical attention, vision can be restored within 6 to 12 months. This would depend on whether any complications arise from the eye disease or the treatment. These complications can vary from side effects of the eye treatment, damage to the optic nerve, or vision loss.