Optic Neuritis

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is the prognosis for optic neuritis?

The prognosis depends on the underlying cause. Most episodes resolve spontaneously, with return of vision in two weeks to three months. About 90% of people with optic neuritis will recover most of their vision within six months of onset. However, about 14% will have a recurrence of optic neuritis in the affected eye, and 12% will develop optic neuritis in the other eye within 10 years. If the patient has one or more abnormal lesions on the MRI, the risk of MS within 15 years is 72%.

Where can I find more information on optic neuritis?

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Medically reviewed by William Baer, MD; Board Certified Ophthalmology


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Sanders, E.A.C.M., Volkers, A.C.W., van der Poel, J.C., et al. "Estimation of visual function after optic neuritis: A comparison of clinical tests." Br J Ophthalmol 70 (1986): 918.

Van Dalen, J.T.W., Greve, E.L. "Visual field defects in multiple sclerosis." Neuro-ophthalmology 2 (1981):93.

Wray, S.H. "Optic Neuritis." Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology, volume 4, 2539-2568.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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