Optic Neuritis is one of the more common symptoms of multiple sclerosis. It is brought about by inflammation of the Cranial Nerve II (Optic Nerve) or possibly the Cranial Nerve III (Oculomotor Nerve)

Optic Neuritis (ON)

It is not peculiar to MS and may be brought on by such infections as: mumps, measles, syphilis, diabetes, or lupus. But MS is the most common etiology. There are other demyelinating disorders that have been associated with ON. These are: acute transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barr syndrome, Devic’s neuromyelitis optica, Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, multifocal demyelinating neuropathy, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Condition can be associated with Uhtoffs Sign where the effects worsen with increased temperatures and Romberg’s Sign where the patient falls when the eyes are closed.

Optic Neuritis can cause:

  • Blurring of Vision (loss of visual acuity) Often reported in only one eye, although I experience it equally in both. My vision begins the day well and deteriorates as the day progresses. This could be linked with MS fatigue where the performance of the demyelinated nerve degrades with use.
  • Eye Pain tenderness of the globe, or pain at the rear of the eyeball
  • Reduced Colour Perception (dyschromatopsia) allegedly occurs in all cases of optic neuritis, although I am not aware of it. This produces a reduction in colour vividness, particularly reds.
  • Movement and Sound Phosphenes flashing light sensations, often associated with sudden noise or lateral head movements. More apparent in low light levels. I experience this at night when I go to bed and also see ghostly lights around the room. Maybe, of course, my house is haunted!
optic neuritis multiple sclerosis
Poor Focus

Personal Experience

I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since 1994 and have been plagued with optic neuritis for much of that time. It has varied in intensity just as multiple sclerosis relapses and remits.

My optic neuritis is clearly associated with the damage being done to my optic nerve by the action of this demyelinating disease. As my multiple sclerosis has progressed over the years, so has my optic neuritis worsened.

My only glimmer of hope has been the discovery of canninbidiol which seems to be helping to contain the optic nerve degradation.


Copaxone and Beta Interferon have both been shown to reduce the probability and severity of reoccurrences.

The steroid prednisolone does, in my experience, accelerate recovery from a bad bout of ON. Having been prescribed a high but rapidly decreasing dose of the steroid after a particularly bad episode of optic neuritis.


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