Optic neuritis

Hi, I just wanted to hear some people’s experiences with optic neuritis. I’ve had it for 4 months now, with no let up! I’ve had a course of steroids but it didn’t help. How long will it last for? Will it ever go away? Any tips on dealing with the pain?

Hi Char,

First let me say ON was my first symptom 44 years ago; still have a blurry eye, this is unusual.

See optic neuritis - multiple sclerosis encyclopaedia


I had optic neutritis, it only lasted 6 weeks and I didn’t even take steroids. My vision is not perfect any more, nor will it be. I didn’t have any pain either. Have you had an MRI to see what is causing the optic neutritis?

Thank you George. That picture is exactly how my vision is, with added flashing lights! I just want it to ease up, even just a little bit would be nice!

I’ve had 2 MRI scans, both showing multiple lesions. All everyone says is it’ll go away on its own with time but it’s just not easing up at all!

I’m sorry to hear that it’s not easing up and that you are going through pain. I know it’s not the best news, but when I was told that there were lesions and it was likely to be MS I was rather relieved that it wasn’t a tumour as that is what the ophthalmologist had said it might be. From that moment though it took a whole year to be diagnosed properly, my mobility had got worse and worse, one neurologist said it was more than likely progressive. I saw another neurologist then who gave me a dose of steroids which made my mobility much better. This condition seems to have a mind of its own and there are no set pathways as to how it will affect you and each individual can differ. I hope that it clears up for you soon.

Optic neuritis was my first symptom. I had some pain when moving my eyes but that went away after a while. I was left with a permanent dead patch in the middle of the field of vision in my left eye. Peripheral vision in that eye is fine. In fact, my eyesight is noticeably worse when my left eye is covered, so the eye is obviously contributing something. I wasn’t offered steroids because they don’t always help with optic neuritis.

I saw a specialist last year. We discussed my optic neuritis and he told me that I was very unlucky to have significant lasting effects. Apparently most people recover completely, or have limited reduction in visual acuity. Having said that, even if the odds against permanent damage are 1000 to 1, there’s always the risk of being that one.

As for how long it will last, no one can say. My optic neuritis was nearly 30 years ago and I will always have a dead patch. I once asked how long a relapse has to last before the symptoms are considered permanent. I was told 1-2 years. As for the pain, talk to your GP and get some painkillers. Nobody should be in continuous pain. I would also talk to the specialist to make sure that there’s nothing else causing the pain.