Alternative NamesRetro-bulbar neuritis, Optic neuritis
What is Optic neuritis
Optic neuritis is an optic nerve inflammation. The optic nerve is the bundle of nerve fibers that transmit visual information to your brain from your eye.
Optic neuritis usually develops in a close link with an autoimmune disorder that caused by an infection. In some people, signs and symptoms of optic neuritis can be an indication of multiple sclerosis.
Many people who have a single episode of optic neuritis later recover their vision. Steroid medications may accelerate vision recovery after this disease.
Signs and symptoms
- Loss of vision in one eye, over an hour or a few hours
- Changes in the way the pupil reacts to bright light
- Loss of color vision
- Pain when you move the eye
Complications of optic neuritis may include:
- Optic nerve damage. Most people have some permanent optic nerve damage following an episode of optic neuritis, but they may not have any symptoms resulting from this damage.
- Decreased visual acuity. Most people recover normal vision within several months, but sometimes vision loss may persist even after the optic neuritis has improved.
- Side effects of treatment. Steroid medicines damage your immune system that causes your body to become more susceptible to infections. Long-term use of steroids can lead to osteoporosis.
The definite cause of optic neuritis is still unknown, but scientists identified certain conditions that have been associated with optic neuritis. They are:
- Autoimmune diseases including lupus, sarcoidosis and behcet disease
- Cryptococcosis- a fungal infection
- Bacterial infections (tuberculosis, syphilis, lyme disease and meningitis)
- Viral infections (viral encephalitis, measles, rubella, chickenpox, herpes zoster, mumps and mononucleosis)
- Respiratory infections (mycoplasma pneumonia and common upper respiratory tract infections)
- Multiple sclerosis
There is no effective way to prevent optic neuritis, it is under the study.
Vision often improves within 2-3 weeks without any specific treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe you corticosteroids injected into a vein (IV) or taken by mouth, they may accelerate recovery. It is important to note, that higher doses can cause serious side effects.
Optic neuritis cannot be treated completely, but you can treat the conditions causing it.