According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society in the UK, optic neuritis is associated with MS. Although the two conditions can be connected, they’re not consequential: not everyone who develops optic neuritis will go on to develop multiple sclerosis.
That being said, there is definitely a connection. Many neurologists consider optic neuritis as an early sign or first warning of multiple sclerosis. Patients may experience blurred vision, complete loss of sight, a blurred or blind spot in the center of their vision, or colour changes. They may also experience pain or flashes of light when moving their eyes.
If any of these symptoms are present, a doctor may refer you to an ophthalmologist or neurologist to diagnose the condition. They may then conduct an MRI to see how well the optic nerve is working — and to see if there are any other signs of MS.
But why is optic neuritis a red flag for MS?
In this The Optic Neuritis Foundation, Inc. video, Dr. Robert Spector, MD, neuro-ophthalmologist takes some time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about optic neuritis.
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