What is Optic Neuritis?
Optic Neuritis is an eye condition that affects the Optic Nerve. The optic nerve is a nerve fiber bundle that transfers visual information from the eye to the brain. In this condition, swelling and damage occur in the optic nerve. Optic Neuritis can occur due to various diseases.
In the majority of cases, optic neuritis affects only one eye. Moreover, a person with optic neuritis is at a high risk of getting multiple sclerosis.
What are the symptoms?
Optic neuritis is a serious eye problem that can lead to sudden vision loss, pain or discomfort in the affected eye, and vision changes. And this is why it is extremely important to look out for the symptoms of Optic Neuritis:
Here are some symptoms:
Eye movement or exposure to light worsens the pain in the eyes.
- Vision loss in one eye. It starts with vision loss for a few hours and stretches up to months. Sometimes the vision loss is permanent.
- Loss of visual field like side vision loss, central vision loss, or peripheral vision loss.
- Reduced color vision.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can visit PVRI – the best eye hospital in Hyderabad. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent permanent vision loss.
What are the causes?
When the immune system targets the element covering the optic nerve, it damages myelin. Myelin helps in the traveling of electrical impulses from the eye to the brain. Optic neuritis disturbs this neurotic function and affects your vision.
Here are some of the autoimmune conditions-
- Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) – It is an antibody disorder that causes inflammation to the optic nerve, spinal cord, and brain. Inflammation occurs at frequent intervals regularly. It is less severe as compared to other autoimmune conditions.
- Neuromyelitis Optica– In this condition, inflammation affects the optic nerve and spinal cord.
- It doesn’t cause damage to the brain nerves, however, it does affect the recovery after getting in contact with Neuromyelitis Optica.
- Multiple sclerosis – It is a disease that badly affects the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is a covering of nerve fibers in the brain. Under this condition, the autoimmune system attacks the myelin sheath.
Additional causes to consider include bacterial infections, mumps, herpes, or other viruses.
How To Diagnose Optic Neuritis?
An ophthalmologist can perform some general eye tests-
- Routine eye test – This is done to test your vision- color vision and side vision.
- Ophthalmoscopy – This examination is for the optic disk. The optic disk is a part through which the optic nerve enters the eye retina. If you are suffering from Optic Neuritis, then the optic disk swells. Here the doctor studies the back structure of the eye.
- Pupillary light reaction test – To check how pupils react to bright light. If optic neuritis exists, then the person’s pupil won’t constrict.
If the doctor is not satisfied with the above-mentioned results; they will recommend the following tests for proper diagnosis:
- MRI Scan – During the MRI scan, the medical professional injects a contrast solution to enhance the visibility of the person’s optic nerve and other brain parts. Brain scanning reveals the damaged areas and eliminates other potential causes.
- OCT – Optical Coherence Tomography is a test that measures the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer of the eye. Optic neuritis condition reduces the thickness.
- Blood test – It is done to keep infection and other antibodies in check.
- Visual field test – This is to evaluate the peripheral vision of the eye, which is reduced due to the existence of optic neuritis.
- Visual evoked response – This test is performed to know the speed of electrical signals to a person’s brain. The speed gets slower as a result of optic nerve damage.
How to treat Optic Neuritis?
Doctors suggest steroid medications to reduce inflammation. They administer this treatment through veins to expedite vision recovery. Side effects of steroids are mood swings, facial flushing, insomnia, and weight gain.
If you are suffering from other brain lesions then Multiple Sclerosis medicines will be effective. Side effects of these medications are depression, injection site irritation, and flu symptoms.
In case you witness any symptoms, it is better to consult a professional. You can visit the best eye hospital in Hyderabad – PVRI.