One of the problems that result because of Multiple Sclerosis is related to the person’s vision. Since Multiple Sclerosis is an auto-immune disease, therefore, the nerve cells that transmit messages around the body get affected and sometimes, this damage can have an impact on the eyesight of the person. Good news is that this effect is normally very mild and can be treated; only rarely is the affect significant enough to cause partial or complete blindness.
In scientific terms, this eyesight problem is referred to as optic neuritis and almost half of the population suffering from MS is reported to go through this problem at least once. In optic neuritis, the optic nerve gets inflamed and since this nerve is responsible for transmission of light and images to the brain, it can affect the person’s eyesight. Most of the time, Optic Neuritis is one of the initial symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis that will be felt but just because a person has an episode of Optic Neuritis does not mean that they have this disease because the optic nerve can be affected by a number of other factors as well.
Symptoms of Optic Neuritis
Normally, this condition is not painful for the person experiencing it and most of the time, it happens in just one of the eyes. The path of Optic Neuritis is that initially the loss of vision is not significant but over the passage of hours or days, it might get worse before it eventually gets better. The entire episode can last for about a month or even twelve weeks. Some common symptoms signaling an episode of Optic Neuritis include:
- Partial or complete blindness in one eye
- Blurring of vision
- Graying of vision
This problem can be treated to make it get better quickly or to stop it from getting worse. Common treatments include oral or intravenous steroids.
This can happen during an MC flare up or exacerbation in which the symptoms of the disease tend to get worse. The problem usually occurs because further damage to the nerve cells is taking place which can manifest itself in the form of new symptoms or worsening of the old ones. This blindness will normally be in one eye and will go away on its own.
Double Eye Vision
In this condition, the pair of muscles that control one of the eyes lose some or all of their coordination. This can be because of weakened or damaged muscles and even though this can be quite frustrating for the patient, the condition goes away on its own and does not require any treatment.
Uncontrolled Eye Movements
Another vision related symptom of MS is Nystagmus in which there are uncontrolled horizontal and vertical eye movements. Normally, Nystagmus will be mild or moderate enough to be temporary but in some cases, it can last long enough to cause permanent vision damage. One treatment that might be able to deal with the visual defects caused by Nystagmus is the use of prisms.
If you are experiencing any changes in your vision, you must consult your ophthalmologist and neurologist immediately to deal with the issue.
Do tell us if you have experienced any of these problems? How long did it take you to recover?