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Optic Neuritis-An Early Sign of Multiple Sclerosis?

November 16, 2015

Guest Blog By: Multiple Sclerosis Talk

Running a multiple sclerosis page on Facebook, (please feel free to join us at https://www.facebook.com/MultipleSclerosisTalk) we have noticed that many of our readers feel that Optic Neuritis was one of the first symptoms of the condition they noticed.  And that optic neuritis is one of the most concerning symptoms.

For example a recent poster shared:

“I have optic neuritis and 3 demyelating lesions but they are no longer bright on the MRI…symptoms however are progressing, numbness, balance vision etc. it’s frustrating to not be certain anymore, the neuro had been certain for two years”.

The purpose of this blog is to allow our readers to share their experience of optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.

First, it may be useful to offer a brief definition of optic neuritis. Very simply optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve.  This can lead to either partial or complete sight loss. It is most commonly seen as a symptom of multiple sclerosis with 50% of diagnosed people with multiple sclerosis reporting optic neuritis at some time. Importantly for around 20% of MS patients it is the first symptom.

While multiple sclerosis is the most common cause of optic neuritis, it is worth bearing in mind that it is not the only cause.  Diabetes, infections such as syphilis and autoimmune conditions can also lead to optic neuritis.

We would like to hear about your experiences of optic neuritis.  Everything you would like to share is of great interest, but you might like to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you suffer from optic neuritis?  How long have you had it?
  2. Was it the first sign or symptom of multiple sclerosis?
  3. What affect has optic neuritis had on your lifestyle?
  4. Did you use any treatments and to what extent did they work for you?
  5. It has been suggested that having your first symptom as optic neuritis means that your multiple sclerosis is more “benign”.  Is this true for you?
  6. Do you have any advice you would like to give a person who has just found out they have optic neuritis or multiple sclerosis?