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Optic Neuritis: Commonly Asked Questions


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.

MORE: Learn why optic neuritis in MS is so difficult to see

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.

MORE: Jack Osbourne’s advice on living a healthier life with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Joan Quilter says:

    Twenty years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with optic neuritis, her first MS symptom. Now, she is almost blind. In spite of MS drugs, her optic neuritis kept getting worse; at 20, she was “legally blind”. Of all her symptoms today, I think this one is the very worst.

    • Jeff says:

      My son was 19 when he got optic neuritis. He lost most of the vision in the in spite of iv steroids. His mri and spinal tap were negative. Two years later a follow up Mri revealed brain lesions. He’s doing very well on Tecfidera mand has not had any MS flare ups. Very sad he has permanent vision loss in one eye.

      • Cyndy says:

        I too have optic neuritis. I was 30 years old when over the space of 3 days i went blind in my left eye. My doctor was a pioneer in the field of ultra sound being used to diagnose vision problems. This was 30 years ago and MS had not been linked to optic neuritis. All the doctors could tell me is what it wasn’t.

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