Optic Neuritis is one of the more common presenting symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and can cause blurred vision, color blindness, loss of vision, pain behind the eyes and even flashing/flickering lights. This usually occurs in one eye but both eyes being affected is not uncommon. Typically people just complain about their vision blurring and never experience anything else.
In MS, Optic Neuritis is the result of inflammation of the optic nerve or lesions along the nerve pathway. If you have not been diagnosed with MS but think you may be experiencing Optic Neuritis, see a doctor right away as it can also be the result of an infection or another disease that affects the nerves.
How is Optic Neuritis Treated?
In MS, when Optic Neuritis flares up, usually steroids are used to resolve the issue. This is typically oral Prednisone or intravenous (IV) Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol). Some people cannot tolerate these steroids and may end up using injections of H.P. Acthar Gel instead. It is possible that all these medications may actually cause blurry vision themselves but even without them Optic Neuritis will eventually go away on its own once the body’s inflammation reduces. Like any other MS symptom, after a flare you never really 100% return to your baseline so over time many people with MS end up wearing glasses/contacts to correct any long-term effects to their vision.
Personally, I have experienced many visual symptoms and though a lot of them do not have to do directly with the optic nerve, I have experienced Optic Neuritis many times since my diagnosis. I only ever really experienced a blurring of my vision and there were a few times that I saw quick flashes of light like light was reflecting off a piece of glass. Though steroids offered me temporary relief I did end up wearing glasses after just a couple years of living with MS. Like any other MS symptom there are good days and bad days and because most steroids do not really seem to help with my flare-ups anymore I usually use Acthar when things are flaring up really bad. Also, I have experienced Optic Neuritis in both one eyes at a time and both at the same time but honestly I never really felt it as any