Optic Neuritis

Hi, I just found the mssociety forum and was hoping to find some guidance and support… During the first week of June my girlfriend discovered her peripheral vision was blurry in her left eye… She went to an Opthalmogist who sent her for an MRI, a Visual Evoked Respons test and a Visual Field Test. A month later she returned to the Opthalmogist, her peripheral vision had returned fully. The Opthalmogist told her she had Optic Neuritis with an inflammation of the Optic Nerve. He also told her that her symptoms were atypical as she had no pain in her eye and only a small part of her peripheral vision was affected… Her Visual Field Test was normal and her MRI were normal, however, they were as the Opthalmogist called them “shadows” on her MRI which were associated with Multiple Sclerosis…? He gave her no medication but is referring her to a Neurologist (still havn’t heard back yet for an appointment date) I’ve read countless Optic Neuritis articles on the website these past few days but was wondering if anybody else had these type of symptoms? Here’s a few questions I was wondering… - Is it likely my girlfriend has early stages of multiple Sclerosis - How long would it take for an MS diagnosis - what other tests is she most likely to encounter, will she need another MRI etc - What questions will we need to ask the Neurologist when we visit him? Any help and guidance gratefully appreciated…

Should have mentioned that the Opthalmogist did not have the results of the Visual Evoked Response Test when we visited him… So will probably get these results from the Neurologist…

Hi Broomy and welcome,

I am sorry to hear your girlfriend is having a hard time of things. I cannot talk from experience here as i have never had optic neuritis, however i do believe it is one of the more common symptoms in people with MS, hopefully someone else will be able to advise you more.

This by no means to say that is what your girlfriend has, getting a diagnosis of ms can take a long time. There are so many other conditions that can mimic the symptoms of MS that an awful lot of things need to be eliminated first.

Some of the tests done to get a diagnosis are, MRI’s, Lumbar punctures and VEP’s and a neurologist’s clinical exam. Sometimes a neuro will ask for a MRI with contrast, which will help them to see if there is any activity or scarring on the brain.

When you get into see the neuro it helps to take a brief list of the symptoms in the order they started, it can help the neuro make sense of your history.

I hope that your girlfriend gets some help soon and that they find her issues to be something that can be resolved quickly. Best of luck.


Oh thank you so so much for taking the time to reply to me! She has no MS symptoms so far only the optic neuritis… Has anybody ever had Optic neuritis only affecting the Peripheral vision in one eye with no pain with no colour vision loss? Opthalmogist said her symptoms were atypical for optical neuritis, not really sure what he meant by that but he did say in his own words that “there were shadows on the MRI somewhat associated with MS”…

Hi I’m sorry to here of your girlfriend’s troubles. I had Optic Neuritis - but quite typical- with central scotoma (though it actually took over the whole field of vision), loss of colour vision and pain on eye movement. Also the pupils didn’t react when a light was shone in the affected eye - I think that tests the same thing as the Visual Evoked Response test (but is less sensitive) -testing nerve conduction of visual signals.

When I was under investigation they collected blood for lots of tests - if that hasn’t been done the neurologist might want that done. Visual problems can be caused by vitamin deficiencies so testing for that would be some of the tests

As you allude to - I think “only affecting the Peripheral vision with no pain with no colour vision loss” explains the .use of “atypical”.

Migraines with or without pain can have visual effects and can cause abnormal MRI scans, I think, so the neurologist might consider that and of course things I haven’t heard of.

If there are no other MS symptoms it would only be CIS (Clinically Isolated Syndrome) not Multiple Sclerosis even if it could only be explained as an MS type attack. As a CIS there would be a 50% chance that it didn’t develop into MS.

So I hope it is something much less worrying.

Okay, this may be a bit sketchy as I am on my phone and not on my computer but I will try to answer your questions.

I had suspected retrobulbar optic neuritis 2 years ago. I say suspected as by the time I got my MRI, it was 6 months after I reported the problem to my optician and there were no signs of inflammation or areas of demylination. My symptoms were that my right eye was fuzzy and there was a big difference in the colour red. The optician wrote to my doctor who referred me to the hospital and I eventually got my appointment. The reason why this is relevant to your post is that I have spent time researching ON because of the link with MS.

The statistics state that on at 50% of people with a presenting symptom of optic neuritis (ON) go on to develop MS within 15 years. This is further broken down by

Silly phone

This is further broken down by saying that if an MRI was done and there was evidence of lesions then the chance of developing MS increased to 73% and if there were no lesions then the chance is 27% of developing it within 15 years. Now please forgive these stats as they might not be accurate. I can’t post the link I want to from my phone. I will update this post again when I can get to my computer.

So basically, in my case, the chance of developing MS is one in four as my MRI was clear. It may be the case for your girlfriend that her chances of NOT developing it are one in four.

I rreally don’t want to say all this to worry you. There is every chance that this is simply a one off and nothing ever else happens. You said she has no other symptoms so that is good news. But if in the future she does get a few weird niggles then a trip to the docs would be a good idea. I since have had a few other symptoms and am now on the long road to finding out what is up with me. The road to diagnosis is a long one and a rather large dose of patience is sadly needed.

I hope this has helped a little and has not scared you silly. If it has, my sincere apologies. I will post some links explaining the volts better when I can get to my computer. Please feel free to PM me if you want to chat. Angela.