Optic neuritis is a condition that causes temporary pain, vision loss and visual disturbances. It is a condition in itself but it is often associated with MS. It’s caused by inflammation or damage to myelin – the protective coating around nerve cells. It affects the optic nerve, which transmits images from your eyes to your brain. Optic neuritis can cause:
- vision loss
- flashing or flickering lights with eye movement
- blurriness in one eye
- partial or complete loss of colour vision
- pain when the eye moves or a dull ache behind the eye
- reduced peripheral vision (indirect or side vision).
Optic neuritis is common in people with MS. It can occur or suddenly get progressively worse. It is often temporary and associated with a good recovery if treated early. The most common treatment is steroids, which are used to reduce inflammation. Symptoms in the eye can occur from other causes, such as migraine, so it’s important to investigate.