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Is Optic Neuritis A Progressive Disease & Alternative Treatments For It?

Optic neuritis is a disease in which a second cranial nerve becomes inflamed due to a demyelinating disorder of the nervous system. It also provokes some diseases. It is the most common cause of a sudden and quite noticeable drop in vision.(1)

Is Optic Neuritis A Progressive Disease?

Is Optic Neuritis A Progressive Disease?

Progression of optic neuritis depends upon the actual cause of the disease. It can vary depending on the cause, early intervention, and therapy course. If left unattended, the disease usually progresses negatively and symptoms worsen over time. It may also result in other complications and irreversible damage to the optical nerve causing partial or full blindness. So, if you’re experiencing symptoms of optic neuritis, then consult an ophthalmologist right now.(3)

Usually, in typical cases, the diagnosis of the disease is not difficult. If neuritis occurs in a mild form, without a drop in visual function, then it is much harder to diagnose. Such a disease is differentiated as pseudo-neuritis. With pseudo-neuritis, visual functions are well preserved.

If even small hemorrhages appear in the tissue of the retina, then this symptom confirms the diagnosis. Most accurately, it is determined using the angiography of the retina. The same study provides basic information about all the pathological processes that cause diseases of the optic nerve. Importance should be given to monitoring the progress of the disease.

A retrobulbar type of neuritis is indicated by a rapid and significant drop in vision.(4)

Alternative Treatments For Optic Neuritis

Alternative treatment should be used as a supporting mechanism for medical intervention and therapy. Having foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants like fresh fruits and vegetables, soya, yogurt, etc. can keep your eyes healthy.

Certain eye exercises and maintaining general well-being and hygiene are essential.

Avoiding stress, having enough sleep, relaxation, and avoiding eye strain will help faster recovery.

Treatment Of Optic Neuritis

The specified disease requires hospitalization. Before the cause of eye damage is discovered, therapeutic measures are mainly aimed at reducing the intensity of infectious processes and inflammatory phenomena and medication to prevent dehydration, desensitization, correction of immunity.

The treatment of optic neuritis depends on the cause behind it. In practice, it is not always possible to quickly establish the exact cause of pathology. Any diseases of the optic nerve require careful monitoring and therapy.

The following agents and methods are suitable for therapy:

  • Reception of antibiotics mainly of the penicillin series. Streptomycin antibiotics are undesirable.
  • Sulfonamides.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Local hormone therapy is carried out (in advanced cases)
  • Antiviral treatment is performed if the diseases of the optic nerve are associated with the penetration of viruses into the body.
  • Symptomatic therapy is also indicated – for example, glucose, Vitamin complexes, which include vitamins C and group B, are also useful.
  • In the later stages, antispasmodics are prescribed.(5)

The Main Factors Causing Optic Neuritis

The reasons for this disease are very diverse. Most often, such pathology is formed against the background of acute or chronic inflammatory phenomena in the body. The causes of optic neuritis lie in respiratory viral diseases, tonsillitis, sinusitis. Other factors that can cause optic neuritis are as follows:

  • Allergic pathologies;
  • Blood system disorders;
  • Connective tissue pathologies;
  • Dental dysfunctions;
  • Hyperglycemia;
  • Inflammation of the eye;
  • Injuries
  • Intoxication (e.g., methanol, lead, and its compounds);
  • Neuralgia;
  • Renal disease;
  • Sclerosis;
  • Vitamin deficiency(2)

Optic Neuritis Classification

Inflammation of the optic nerve has a rather complicated classification. This is because it occurs under the influence of many pathogenic factors. Optic neuritis can be:

Retrobulbar: In this case, nerve tissue abnormality occurs at the beginning of the disease development. Often, such an eye disease occurs as a consequence of multiple sclerosis.

Papillitis: It is a process of primary damage to the optic disc. It is hyperemic; peripapillary hemorrhages are often diagnosed and it usually develops in children, although it often occurs in adults.

Neuroretinitis: It is a combination of papillitis and inflammation of the nerve fibers in the retina. In the macular region of the shell, the so-called star shape is visible. This is a special type that can sometimes be complicated by serous edema of the macula. This is mainly associated with feline scratch syndrome, infectious pathologies, and syphilis.


  1. Yeshokumar AK, Banwell BL. Diagnostic Challenges in Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Pediatric Neurology. 2018;16(03):185-191.
  2. Cadavid D, Balcer L, Galetta S, et al. Safety and efficacy of opicinumab in acute optic neuritis (RENEW): a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial. The Lancet Neurology. 2017;16(3):189-199.
  3. Huang S-C, Castoldi V, Marenna S, et al. Onset of Optic Neuritis Precedes Motor disability in a Preclinical model of Multiple Sclerosis. Paper presented at: MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL2018.
  4. Bennett JL. Optic Neuritis. CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology. 2019;25(5):1236-1264.
  5. Burton EV. Optic Neuritis: Clinical Manifestations, Pathophysiology, and Management. Neuroinflammation: Elsevier; 2018:337-353.

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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 25, 2022

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