• Optic Neuritis is inflammation with accompanying demyelination of the Optic Nerve which serves the retina of the eye. It is a variable condition in which vision can be severely or moderately affected. It can either affect one only or both eyes concurrently or at different times and is usually reversible, with in some cases spontaneous recovery occurring.
2. What are the symptoms of Optic Neuritis?
• Blurring of vision occurs in around 58% of optic neuritis cases. This can range from mild blurriness in 34% of cases, through moderate (12%), to severe or total loss of light perception (complete blindness) in 54% of cases.
• Eye pain occurs in 53% to 88% of optic neuritis presentations. Sometimes pain is only noticeable with eye movement, sometimes pain preceded an episode of blurred vision, or a general eye ache, sometimes a headache gripping the affected eye, or a generalised dull headache.
• Reduced colour vision occurs in 100% of optic neuritis cases. Typically this is reported as a reduction in colour vividness, particularly reds.
• Visual flashing sensations brought about by side-to-side eye movement or sound often occur with optic neuritis. They are most obvious in a dimly lit room. Obscuration of the visual field in bright light is another common symptom of optic neuritis and many people with ON, particularly those with a chronic condition, report that they see better in dimly lit rooms. It is likely that both of these symptoms are caused by fluctuating interference of the nerve transmissions along the visual pathways.
• Uhthoff's symptom, the worsening of symptoms with heat or exhaustion, is present in about 58% of cases of Optic Neuritis.
• “For me, it's all white, like living in a heavy fog. Sometimes I think I can almost see movement, especially if there's a lot of light. Conversely, I'm photophobic so too much light hurts and gives me a headache . I had some eye pain and that sort of thing- I still do now and then and one eye seems to get more light than the other.”
• “Optic Neuritis was my first presenting symptom of MS, picked up by my optician when I went with what I thought was a flash in my eye. I woke up one morning with a sort of flash like sensation at the top of my left eye.
This first time, it cleared up by itself in about 10 days but almost immediately went into the other eye. The best way I can describe it is the vision just disappeared from the centre of my eye as if someone had put a huge thumbprint on my glasses that wouldn't wipe off. Reds were also very bright and some colours had a washed outlook to them. Reading was a no-no as parts of words just wouldn't be there and when the blurring happened, I just couldn't see anything on the page.