Optic Neuritis

Image of a woman getting an eye exam.

Also known as demyelinating optic neuritis, optic neuritis refers to the inflammation of the optic nerve due to the loss of or damage to a protective covering called myelin, which surrounds the optic nerve. The myelin is essential to the function of the optic nerve. A more general term, optic neuropathy, refers to nerve damage or abnormalities due to blocked blood flow, disease, or toxic exposure. Optic neuritis is a type of optic neuropathy.

Symptoms

Several vision symptoms accompany optic neuritis including blurred vision, blind spots, pain with eye movement, and reduced color vision. These symptoms typically precede a loss of vision. If left untreated, optic neuritis can lead to permanent optic nerve damage and permanent loss of visual acuity.

Causes

Although the exact cause of optic neuritis is not yet understood, optic neuritis occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin, which protects your optic nerve. The myelin is vital for the proper function of the optic nerve. When damaged, the nerve cannot efficiently transfer electric signals/information from the eyes to the brain, hindering vision.

Optic neuritis tends to occur in conjunction with several medical conditions, disorders, and diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica, systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, ocular herpes, syphilis, measles, mumps, and sinusitis. In addition, optic neuritis can also develop in reaction to certain medications.

Most common among women, young adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the greatest risk of developing optic neuritis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Eye care professionals diagnose optic neuritis using a series of tests and evaluations including a routine eye exam, an ophthalmoscopy (to inspect the back of the eye, looking for a swollen optic nerve), pupillary light reaction test (to check for abnormal function of the pupil), and blood tests.

Patients diagnosed with optic neuritis are much more likely to develop MS. As a result, if a patient is diagnosed with optic neuritis, an MRI will often be recommended to look for further signs of nerve damage and the possible development of MS.

Optic neuritis may clear up on its own. If, however, it does not, an eye care professional will usually recommend a regimen of steroids administered both orally and intravenously to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.

If signs of MS are present in the patient, medications to slow the onset or development of MS will also be prescribed.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

11:00 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-5:30 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Locations

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Review From Our Satisfied Patient

  • "Dr. Monterola and her staff were both friendly and professional. They instantly saw me when I arrived. My eyes were examined and glasses picked in 45 minutes. I highly recommend Greenwood Optical."
    Andy Meyer / Seattle, WA

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

    Fuchs' dystrophy (pronounced fooks DIS-truh-fee) is an eye disease characterized by degenerative changes to the cornea’s innermost layer of cells. The cause for Fuchs' dystrophy is not fully understood. If your mother or father has the disease, then there is roughly a 50 percent chance that you will ...

    Read More
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ...

    Read More
  • Diabetic Eye Diseases

    Diabetes is a condition that involves high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This can affect many parts of the body, including the eyes. One of the most common diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy, which is also a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    Somewhere around the age of 40, most people’s eyes lose the ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition is called presbyopia. You may start holding reading material farther away, because it is blurry up close. Reading suddenly gives you eyestrain. You might wonder when manufacturers started ...

    Read More
  • Laser Cataract Surgery

    The only way to correct the clouded vision caused by advanced cataracts is surgical intervention. If you find yourself pursuing cataract surgery to remove one or both cataract-disease lenses, you may be wondering what surgical approaches are available for treatment. Although eye surgeons have successfully ...

    Read More
  • Cataract Surgery

    With cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes the cataract-diseased lens of your eye. The ophthalmologist then replaces your natural lens with an artificial one. The Procedure This outpatient procedure is generally safe and takes less than an hour. Your ophthalmologist will dilate your pupil ...

    Read More
  • Peripheral Vision Loss

    Normal sight includes central vision (the field of view straight ahead) and peripheral vision (the field of view outside the circle of central vision). The inability to see within a normal range of view often indicates peripheral vision loss. In severe cases of peripheral vision loss, individuals only ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    As we age, our eyes—like the rest of our bodies—begin to lose flexibility and strength. When this happens to the lens of the eye and its surrounding muscles, your lens will become stiff. This makes it harder to see close objects clearly because the eyes can't focus properly. It's a natural part of ...

    Read More
  • Patches

    Eye patches are used to strengthen muscle control in weak eyes. By placing a patch over the strong eye, the weaker eye is forced to do the heavy lifting. While it may be uncomfortable for the patient at first, the muscle controlling the weaker eye will become tougher and more resilient. This will allow ...

    Read More
  • How to Transition Into Different Lighted Situations

    Does it take a little while for your eyes to adjust to the dark? Try a few of these tips. ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles