What Is Optic Neuritis?

Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve, numerous nerve fibers found in the eye that transmits visual signals to the brain. It usually develops as a result of an autoimmune disorder triggered by a viral infection. That is why optic neuritis can sometimes be an indication of multiple sclerosis in some people.

Optic Neuritis Causes

The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers covered by myelin, the insulating material found in nerve cells. There are certain autoimmune conditions that may trigger the body’s immune cells to attack the insulating material in the nerve cells that may then affect the way they transmit signals. These immune cells may target the optic nerve causing faulty signals going to and from the brain and the eyes. The attack may also cause the optic nerve to become inflamed eventually.

Optic Neuritis Symptoms

Common cases of optic neuritis may affect only one eye although it is also possible to occur in both in some people. Symptoms associated with optic neuritis include eye pain that seems to get worse with moving the eyes. The pain may come and go for weeks at a time and can last just as long each time. Some people may also experience visual loss of experience difficulty in seeing. Some may also experience loss of color vision.

Optic Neuritis Treatment

Treatment for optic neuritis is usually focused on alleviating the symptoms that may appear. In the case of pain, steroid medications may be used in order to reduce the inflammation of the affected nerve. And since optic neuritis is closely associated with multiple sclerosis, treatment associated with MS may also be recommended for some people which can also help in preventing the condition from worsening.