Optic Neuritis : Optic Nerve Disease : Tests & Treatment

Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve. It may cause sudden, reduced vision in the affected eye.

Tests & Diagnostics
A complete medical examination can help rule out related diseases. Tests may include the following:

  1. Color vision testing
  2. MRI of the brain including special images of the optic nerve
  3. Visual acuity testing
  4. Visualization of the optic disc by indirect ophthalmoscopy

Treatments
Vision often returns to normal within 2 – 3 weeks with no treatment.
Corticosteroids given through a vein (IV) may speed up recovery. Higher doses should be used cautiously, as they can have serious side effects.
Further tests may be needed to determine the cause of the neuritis. The condition causing the problem can then be treated.
Complications
(a) Body-wide side effects from corticosteroids
(b) Vision loss
About 20% of patients with a first episode of optic neuritis will develop myelin sheath inflammation at other sites or will develop multiple sclerosis.

Prevention
Regular annual eye exams are critical to maintaining healthy vision. Early treatment of vision problems can prevent permanent optic nerve damage (atrophy).

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