What is optic neuritis?

What is optic neuritis?

23 June 2022

It is the inflammation of the optic nerve, which is in charge of sending light signals to the brain, thus allowing sight.


The exact cause of optic neuritis is unknown, although ophthalmologists understand that it occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the optic nerve tissue.

Among the autoimmune conditions associated with optic neuritis is multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack myelin, which helps transmit electrical impulses from the eye to the brain more quickly.


Optic neuritis usually affects only one eye; however, the possibility of it occurring in both eyes is not ruled out. Symptoms may include

  • pain, which may worsen with eye movement;
  • blurred vision;
  • problems with color perception;
  • loss of vision; many people notice a decrease in their vision, to varying degrees.

If this condition is not treated in time, symptoms may worsen.

How is optic neuritis diagnosed?

The ophthalmologist will examine your eyes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope to determine if the optic nerve is inflamed; a side vision test; a color vision test; and, finally, observe how your pupils react to light.


Optic neuritis may get better on its own, but not all cases are the same; many people need treatment to prevent progression of symptoms or improve their vision. However, in patients with multiple sclerosis or other diseases, this treatment does not help the vision to return to its previous state.

It is always advisable to prevent: before any change in your vision, schedule your appointment online for an ophthalmologic exam.

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