Optic neuritis: symptoms and treatment

Optic neuritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the fibers of the optic nerve. Inflammation affects both the tissue and the nerve shells. Usually, this ailment progresses against the background of neurological diseases, in which the destruction of fibers responsible for the full conductivity of nerve impulses is observed.

Because of the inflammatory process, the mechanical fibers are compressed, and as a result they cease to receive the necessary nutrients in full and are killed. In the place where the fiber died, connective tissue grows, and the optic nerve gradually atrophies. If at the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease does not conduct its full treatment, then the visual function will gradually decrease, up to complete blindness.

Neuritis of the optic nerve is of two kinds:

  • simple neuritis. In this case, the inflammation affects only the disc of the optic nerve. It does not spread to nearby tissues;
  • optic neuritis of the optic nerve. Inflammation affects the nerve fibers located behind the eyeball. Retrobulbar optic neuritis of the optic nerve is diagnosed more often.

This type of neuritis usually affects first one eye, and a week later the inflammation is thrown and the second. There are two variants of the course of the pathological process — acute and chronic. With an acute variant, a person loses sight for a maximum of three days, while a chronic visual function is lost slowly.


There are quite a number of reasons that could trigger the progression of optic neuritis. It is worth noting that the lesion of the nerve disc is one of the signs of the presence in the body of pathologies of the neurological profile.


  1. Inflammatory ailments that affect the brain
  2. the presence of otitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis and other ailments;
  3. infectious diseases with chronic course — malaria, syphilis, tonsillitis, influenza, tuberculosis and others
  4. a complicated pregnancy
  5. non-infectious diseases — blood pathologies, diabetes, etc.
  6. progression of multiple sclerosis;
  7. intoxication of the body with drugs, alcohol
  8. inflammation within the eye’s shell
  9. eye injuries of varying severity (frequent cause of development of the disease)
  10. presence of benign and malignant neoplasms in the body


The clinic changes as the optic neuritis progresses. At an early stage of the ailment, only a slight reddening of the nerve disc is noted, and its contours become less clear. The blood vessels that feed it increase in size. If the inflammation is not eliminated at this stage, then begins to be allocated pathological exudate, impregnating the disc. As a consequence, his fabrics will swell. The vitreous humor becomes turbid and the hyperemia of the disc itself increases. Later on it and in the peripapillary departments manifest plasmorrhages and hemorrhages.

Symptoms can be manifested as sharply, and gradually (all depends on the variant of the course of the disease). It should be noted that the first sign of optic neuritis is a decrease in visual acuity. Later, such symptoms are added:

  • pain when making movements with the eyeball. As the pathology progresses, the pain syndrome can occur even in a state of complete rest;
  • Reducing the perception of colors
  • headache;
  • a person has twilight vision (a characteristic symptom)
  • Hyperthermia
  • the range of peripheral vision is significantly reduced
  • such a symptom as nausea is not always noted
  • The visual function is reduced after taking a shower, visiting a sauna or a bath and so on
  • A blind spot is observed in the center of the field of view.

Diagnostic measures

If you have at least one of these symptoms, you should immediately visit a medical institution to diagnose, confirm or deny the diagnosis, as well as identify the true cause that triggered the progression of the disease. The standard diagnostic plan includes the following:

  1. ophthalmologic examination
  2. the pupils’ reaction to light (the pupil in the affected eye practically does not respond to the light stimulus);
  3. examining the disc on the fundus with an ophthalmoscope
  4. CT eye;
  5. electrophysiological study
  6. MRI of the brain

Sometimes a specialist is consulted to narrowly confirm the diagnosis and establish the true cause of the disease progression.


Optic neuritis involves treatment in a hospital setting so that doctors can monitor the patient’s condition. The main method of treatment is medication. Its main goal is to eliminate the inflammatory process, as well as to suppress the pathogenic activity of infectious agents. For the treatment of optic neuritis, doctors prescribe:

  • corticosteroids;
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. The form of release — drops, ointments, tablets. There may be an injection;
  • antibiotics. As a rule, preference is given to drugs with a broad spectrum of action;
  • drugs that have a positive effect on blood microcirculation
  • Prednisolone.

In severe clinical situations resort to a surgical technique of treatment. The surgeon performs decompression of the optic nerve shell — opens its membranes, thereby reducing the pressure in the nerve provoked by the inflammatory edema. As a rule, in this case, the symptoms of pathology disappear very quickly. The forecast is positive.

Treatment of pathology with folk remedies is impractical, especially in acute form. The lack of adequate and timely therapy can cause not only a decrease in visual function, but also complete blindness. Therefore, any folk remedies for the treatment of neuritis at home should be excluded.

It is worth noting that in the case of full-fledged treatment of the disease, the outlook is quite optimistic. Usually, vision gradually recovers over a period of one month, but full recovery is only a few months later. After therapy, the patient should periodically undergo a checkup with his doctor to avoid the risk of relapse.