Optic neuritis occurs when the optic nerve gets swollen, infected, or damaged. Since the optic nerve carries light signals from your eye to your brain, this condition can cause you to lose vision in an eye permanently.
Symptoms of optic neuritis include:
Pain with eye movement
Loss of color vision
Optic neuritis is often a symptom of an underlying condition. Here are a few reasons why you could be losing vision in one eye.
Common Causes of Optic Neuritis
While there is no known cause for optic neuritis, doctors believe it develops when the body’s immune system attacks its nerve tissue by mistake. Some common causes of optic neuritis include:
Bacterial Infections: Lyme disease, measles, mumps, and even the flu can result in swelling that leads to vision changes.
Diseases: When symptoms of optic neuritis are more complex diseases (such as lupus, Behcet’s, and sarcoidosis) could be a factor.
Side-Effects: Certain drugs and toxins are known to cause blurred vision loss, vision loss, and optic neuritis. Ethambutol (a drug used to treat tuberculosis) and methanol (found in antifreeze and paints) are often associated with optic neuritis.
Most people who have a single episode of optic neuritis eventually recover their vision without treatment. Others may need steroid medications to help speed up vision recovery. Always consult your eye doctor if you experience drastic changes in vision.
Vision Loss and Multiple Sclerosis
Signs and symptoms of optic neuritis can be the first indication of multiple sclerosis (MS). A few facts to keep in mind:
MS is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks the myelin sheath protecting and covering the nerves in your body.
The risk of developing MS after an episode of optic neuritis is about 50%.
For 1 in 4 people with MS, optic neuritis was the first MS symptom they noticed.
Like MS, optic neuritis typically affects women between the ages of 20-40. Because of the connection with MS, your eye doctor will often refer you to a specialist to undergo a series of tests. These could include:
Visual evoked potential test
Bear in mind that the symptoms experienced with optic neuritis could be due to other eye conditions. An eye doctor needs to confirm what is happening inside your vision before leaping to conclusions.
Diagnosing Your Vision Loss
If you experience optic neuritis or any of its symptoms in one eye, contact Dr. Oker at Eden Prairie Eye Care immediately. She and her expert team will help determine the underlying cause of your vision loss in one eye, prescribe treatment if needed, or refer you to a specialist for further tests.
Contact the Eden Prairie Eye Care offices at (952) 944-2792 or through our online form. We’ll make sure your vision loss is treated professionally, accurately, and quickly.