Optic Neuritis (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Optic neuritis facts
- What is optic neuritis?
- What causes optic neuritis?
- What are optic neuritis risk factors?
- What are symptoms of optic neuritis?
- What are signs of optic neuritis?
- What types of doctors treat optic neuritis?
- How do health care professionals diagnose optic neuritis?
- What is the treatment for optic neuritis?
- What is the prognosis for optic neuritis?
- Is it possible to prevent optic neuritis?
- Where can I find more information on optic neuritis?
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What is the prognosis for optic neuritis?
The prognosis depends on the underlying cause. Most episodes resolve spontaneously, with return of vision in two weeks to three months. About 90% of people with optic neuritis will recover most of their vision within six months of onset. However, about 14% will have a recurrence of optic neuritis in the affected eye, and 12% will develop optic neuritis in the other eye within 10 years. If the patient has one or more abnormal lesions on the MRI, the risk of MS within 15 years is 72%.
Is it possible to prevent optic neuritis?
Since almost 50% of optic neuritis is likely a result of a post-viral immune reaction, minimizing your risk of acquiring a viral respiratory infection decreases your risk of optic neuritis. It is impossible to totally avoid exposure to respiratory viruses, but research has shown that frequent hand-washing and attempting to not touch one's face without first washing one's hands decreases the incidence of the common cold. Teaching children to cover their mouths and noses when sneezing and instructing them on personal hygiene can also decrease the chances of upper respiratory virus spreading within families.
In patients with recurrent optic neuritis secondary to multiple sclerosis, there are approved disease-modifying agents that reduce disease activity and disease progression for many people with relapsing forms of MS, including relapsing-remitting MS, as well as progressive forms of MS in those people who experience relapses. These include injectable forms of interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, and the biologic monoclonal antibody, daclizumab. Oral medications include teriflunomide (Aubagio), fingolimod (Gilenya), and dimethyl fumarate.
Relapses of multiple sclerosis are sometimes treated with a three- to five-day course of intravenous high-dose corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone. Similar to the use of this regimen in treating acute optic neuritis, intravenous corticosteroids will often end the relapse more rapidly but does not have any effect on the long-term outcome of the disease.
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