The optic nerve is critical for maintaining healthy vision. Within the optic nerve are neurons that carry information from our eyes to our brain. When there is inflammation or swelling of this neural bundle, the optic nerve can be damaged. This condition is called optic neuritis. The myelin sheath that covers the nerves is damaged by the inflammatory process.
Many people experience symptoms in one eye; however, both eyes may be involved. The signs of optic neuritis can include the following.
After hours or days, there is a temporary loss or reduced vision usually in one eye. This may involve a decline in peripheral or side vision as well as a decrease in central or front facing sight. Vision may improve by itself over weeks or months; although, in some individuals the vision impairment may be permanent.
Changes in color vision perception can occur that creates hues and shades that are less intense and bright. There is discomfort or pain upon moving the eyes and it gets worse. Some patients describe the pain behind the eyes as a dull ache. As they move their eyes, some patients experience sparkles or irregular flashes of light.
Several concurrent conditions occur with optic neuritis; however, the exact cause and effect are not known at this time.
• Infections from multiple sources including bacterial, viruses, herpes, mumps and measles
• Immune system disorders, such as lupus
• Toxins and medicines like ethambutol, methanol, paints, and solvents
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Neuromyelitis optica
• Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody disorder
If anything unusual occurs with your vision, make an appointment right away with the professionals at Accent Eyes. Eye conditions are serious. Optic neuritis can be treated, but a diagnosis by an eye care expert is necessary to achieve a high quality of care. Prescribed steroid medications, in eye drop or oral tablet form, may be an advantage to reduce the inflammation and accelerate healing. In some instances, your doctor may decide that the condition will heal without treatment. Call or email Accent Eyes to request an appointment.