Optic Neuritis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve that leads from the back of the eye to the brain.

The symptoms of optic neuritis include full or partial vision loss, blurred vision, reduced color vision, and pain with movement of the eye. Other associated symptoms can include distorted vision, loss of contrast, inability to distinguish certain colors (dyschromatopsia), and washed-out or less vivid vision.

Causes of optic neuritis

Optic neuritis has multiple causes. It is frequently found to occur as a result of multiple sclerosis. Other causes of optic neuritis include infections, autoimmune disease, and injury to the optic nerve. Many infections can cause the condition, including measles, mumps, herpes virus, Lyme disease, syphilis, cat scratch fever, and other bacterial and viral infections.

Other Causes of Optic Neuritis Symptoms and Signs

  • Blurred Vision
  • Distorted Vision
  • Full or Partial Vision Loss
  • Inability to Distinguish Certain Colors (Dyschromatopsia)
  • Loss of Contrast
  • Painful Eye Movements
  • Reduced Color Vision

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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