Optic Nerve Disorder

What is Optic Nerve Disorder?

The optic nerve carries electrical impulses from the photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye to the visual cortex in the brain. Any damage to the optic nerve or its pathways can cause serious damage to the eyes and can also result in loss of vision. One of the main disorders that can affect the optic nerve is optic neuritis. It is basically inflammation of the optic nerve that is caused by damage or loss of the myelin, the protective sheath that surrounds the optic nerve. Researchers believe optic neuritis develops as a result of inflammation and damage to myelin.

The two nerves play an important role and meet at the optic chiasm. The optic nerve divides, and half of the nerve fibers from each of the sides cross to the other side. Because of damage and loss of the protective sheath, inflammation of the nerve is caused.


The symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Distorted vision.
  • Reduced color discrimination.
  • Flashing lights.



The most common cause of optic neuritis is multiple sclerosis in which the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys protective nerve coverings. Other causes include:

  • Infections like mumps, measles, Lyme disease, TB, meningitis, etc.
  • Nerve diseases like neuromyelitis optica or Schilder’s disease.
  • Sarcoidosis is an illness that can cause inflammation of various organs and tissues.
  • In rare cases, post-vaccination reactions or certain drugs or chemicals may also cause optic neuritis.


The main risk factors are:

  • Females in the age group 18-45.
  • If a patient is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
  • People living in high latitudinal areas such as New Zealand, etc. 



To prevent the occurrence of this disease, there are certain things one should take care of:

  • Mood changes.
  • Weight gain.
  • Healthy diet.

How is it diagnosed?

For the correct diagnosis and treatment, consultation with an ophthalmologist is required. At Medanta, the eye tests which are likely to be performed are:


How is it treated?

Optic neuritis generally recovers on its own. In certain cases, steroid medications are prescribed to reduce inflammation of the optic nerve. Intravenous steroid therapy speeds up vision recovery, but does not alter the amount of vision recovered...

When do I contact the doctor?

One should immediately consult a doctor, if they continue to experience persistent blurred vision, pain, reduced colour discrimination, and illness. All these symptoms will be treated just right with the medical and clinical help available at Medanta. 

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