Optic neuritis

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Optic neuritis is also known as or subsumes Acute axial neuritis and Retrobulbar neuritis. -ed.

Dr. Anthony Reder of the University of Chicago describes optic neuritis, part of a spectrum of demyelinating diseases that includes multiple sclerosis. This clinical article includes information on the diagnosis of optic neuritis, how OCT and MRI lesions affect prognosis, and the overlap of optic neuritis with neuromyelitis optica.

Key Points

  • Optic neuritis can occur alone, or as a symptom of multiple sclerosis.
  • Optic nerve inflammation causes subacute loss of vision, usually in one eye, and usually associated with retro-orbital pain.
  • Recovery is often substantial or complete, but ocular coherence tomography (OCT) shows residual thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer in the affected eye, and often in the normal fellow eye.
  • High-dose glucocorticoid therapy speeds up recovery of the inflammation, but has no long-term benefit.