What is Optic Neuritis?
Optic Neuritis is an eye condition that affects Optic Nerve. The optic nerve is a nerve fiber bundle that transfers visual information from the eye to the brain. Under this condition, the optic nerve gets swollen and damaged. 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:
- Pain in the eyes and it gets worsened by eye movement or exposure to light.
- 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 also.
- 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?
It is stated that when the immune system targets the element that is covering the optic nerve, it results in damage to 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 – Under this condition, the optic nerve and spinal cord get affected due to inflammation. 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 that can also be considered are bacterial infections, mumps & herpes, or any other viruses.
It can also be caused due to diseases like sarcoidosis and lupus. Drugs and toxins like Ethambutol and methanol.
How to diagnose Optic Neuritis?
An ophthalmologist can perform some general eye tests-
- A routine eye test – This is done to test your vision, color vision, and side vision.
- Ophthalmoscopy – This examination is done 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, then he will suggest the following test to diagnose properly –
- MRI Scan – Under the MRI Scan, a contrast solution is injected to enhance the visibility of the person’s optic nerve and other parts of the brain. Brain scanning clearly shows the damaged parts and also rules out other 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 – It is to evaluate the peripheral vision of the eye, which reduces 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?
Steroid medications are suggested by doctors to reduce inflammation. This treatment is given through veins, it fastens vision recovery. Side effects of steroids are mood swings, facial flushing, insomnia, and weight gain.
If you are suffering from other brain lesions also 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.