Could MS be affecting my eye muscles?

I had my first episode in August last year when I was 48, so just starting to need reading glasses. Since then my eyesight has deteriorated dreadfully, especially the reading. I just thought it was due to getting older, fatigued and the dreadful double vision, so spent a fortune on new glasses (a number of different pairs). Then a few weeks ago I woke up and just couldn’t see properly, everything was out of focus. I went to the optician and they checked for ON, but I was OK. They referred me via my GP to the hospital to check further, but I was OK. The dilating of my pupils put my eyesight back to normal for some reason, and I have been ok since. I ordered yet another pair of glasses for computer work as I finally returned to work recently and went to pick them up today. As I drove to the opticians, I noticed that I was having trouble focussing but I could do so if I concentrated. When I tested the new glasses, I couldn’t see out of them! I realised that I didn’t need them today as I could read without them, whereas I had difficulty before. What is happening to me? Could the MS be affecting my eye muscles? I can’t afford a pair of glasses for every prescription under the sun!

Could be more a case of the MS affecting the nerves that control your eye muscles. There are two sets of muscles involved: one lot aim the eye (and there can be double vision if the two eyes are not aimed in the same place) and the other lot adjust the focus of the eye (with a tendency to revert to infinity focus if the muscle control is relaxed).

If you are just needing glasses to read, this is quite normal at your age. If you have been wearing glasses for distance vision as well, you could have hit the problem of the focussing muscles being slow to respond. If you are short-sighted, there is no need to visit a high-street optometrist (we usually call them “opticians” but they are not). While an optometrist could take a fair guess at ON, they are not qualified to make a formal Dx. What you may need is an Opthalmologist, or (for double vision) an Orthoptist; in either case your GP can refer you. It sounds like you have been through this process.

For short sight and computer work, you can go into Tesco, or similar, look at their off-the-shelf reading glasses and pick a pair that work for you at the correct distance. This will not cure double vision. To get at that, you need to be able to describe just where, and by how much, the second image appears - and this is just to get the optometrist on the right track.

Human vision is a terribly complex subject (many hundreds of millions of nerve cells i each eyeball alone), and it’s not something that can be covered in one short post. PM me if you want to go into more detail.


I had double vision my right eye muscle wouldn’t work and right side of fave looked like I’d had a stroke . I’m thinking ms has a mind of it’s own

I’ve always had dodgy eyes (short sighted) and slight double vision with my lazy eye, but they have always been able to be corrected by glasses. Now the double vision is too bad, my right eyesight frosted out for driving. What is happening now is that for a few days/hours my prescription (in my left eye as my optometrist has given up with my right eye) just seems to change randomly! I’m back to ‘normal’ again now.

I find this very interesting. My eyes are okay now but I have had bad eyesight since birth. On my baby photos I look like Popeye ha ha! I have a lazy left eye and am very short sighted. It was only when I was in my 30s that I asked my optician why I couldn’t see both the red and green lines at the same time in certain parts of the vision test and was told that it is impossible for me to focus with both eyes at one! About 4 years before my first MS symptoms my right eye began to ‘wander’ when it had always been just the left one. It was noticeable even to me. I had to have prisms in both lenses to help my eyes to focus. At the time I thought it was strange but just assumed the right eye had been weakened by doing all the work for so many years. However at the next eye test 2 years later it had resolved and the prisms were no longer needed. Now I have MS, I cannot help wondering if this was an early symptom or if it is just coincidence. Obviously I’ll never know … Tracey x

Ah, so 3D is out for you too then Tracey!

[quote=“Puddinglover”] Ah, so 3D is out for you too then Tracey! [/quote] Yes, afraid so. T x