Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve. (The optic nerve transmits images from the eye to the brain).

Symptoms of Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis results in the sudden onset of blurred vision, loss of color vision (graying of vision), or loss of vision in one eye. Symptoms worsen over several days and may improve after 1-3 months. It is unusual for both eyes to be affected.

Sometimes there is inflammation of the optic nerve without a loss of vision. visual evoked potential (VEP) testing can usually detect the inflammation which can be a marker of ongoing inflammation.

Risk of Developing MS

A majority of people with multiple sclerosis will experience at least one episode of optic neuritis, and this condition is often the first symptom experienced at the first onset of multiple sclerosis.

However, most people with a single episode of optic neuritis will not develop multiple sclerosis.

The strongest risk factor for developing MS after an episode of optic neuritis was having a brain lesson as detected on a brain or spinal MRI. In a study, those with at least one brain lesion on MRI at the time of the optic neuritis episode had a 56% risk of developing MS within 10 years, while those with no brain lesions had only a 22% risk of developing MS within 10 years.

Treatment of Optic Neuritis

Treatment is determined by the severity and duration of symptoms. In some cases, corticosteroids may be administered intravenously (via IV),  followed by a course of oral steroids (prednisone).


Reference: National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

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