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Optic Neuritis


Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve. The optic nerve helps you see by sending an image from the eye to the brain. Inflammation of the nerve leads to vision loss. Usually only one eye is affected, but you may have optic neuritis in both eyes.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You have vision loss in both eyes along with a headache or double vision.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • Your symptoms do not improve within 1 to 2 weeks.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Steroid medicine may be given to reduce inflammation.
  • Certain vitamins can help protect your vision. An example is vitamin A. You may also need to take vitamin B12 supplements if your optic neuritis was caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Do not take vitamins or other supplements without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need ongoing tests of your vision. Your healthcare provider may also refer you to a specialist to check for multiple sclerosis (MS). Optic neuritis is often the first sign of MS. You may need care to treat MS or to prevent it if you are at risk for developing MS. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.