What is optic neuritis
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, which may be in the front of the papillitis known as the back or nerve, retrobulbar optic neuritis. It is the disease of the optic nerve that causes more sudden vision loss in young patients.
The optic nerve, which transmits information
The optic nerve is the structure responsible for carrying information from the eyes, which receive light from objects and transform it into nerve impulses to the brain which process this information and interpreted as images. Contrary to popular belief, what we actually see is not with the eyes but with the brain. A comparable example is the USB cable that transfers information from a digital camera (equivalent to the eye) to a computer (which amounts to the brain).
Causes of optic neuritis
It is not known in detail why this disease of the optic nerve occurs. In its most common form, demyelinating optic neuritis, it happens that the myelin sheath, the sheath surrounding neurons that form the optic nerve is attacked by the immune system of the patient constitute an autoimmune disease.It is likely that the episode of optic neuritis occurred have combined a number of factors. It may be that a viral infection that may have occurred years has affected some altered immune system reaction.Inflammation of the optic nerve can also occur in isolation without associated with a more generalized disease. In this case neuritis is idiopathic or unknown cause.You can also be part of a disease that has inflamed other body sites such as multiple sclerosis, syphilis, NMO, systemic lupus erythematosus, Wegener's granulomatosis, and tuberculosis among others.
Symptoms of optic neuritis
If the myelin sheath is damaged, the signal transmitted by the optic nerve of the eye to the brain will travel more slowly and with lower resolution.
Thus, the main symptom of optic neuritis is loss of vision, blurred vision, obscured vision is experienced, as if missing a piece of vision in the center or on the sides or with a fixed spot in the visual field. This loss of vision occurs rapidly and does not improve with glasses.Other common symptoms are pain in the eye or behind, especially when moving, attenuated color vision and the appearance of light flashes.Some patients even notice blurred or obscured vision for a few minutes or even an hour in hot weather or after exercise or shower with hot water: it is the phenomenon of Uhtoff.
Diagnosis of optic neuritis
The diagnosis of this disease can be difficult, as the eye can have a normal appearance. For this reason it is essential to consider the patient's symptoms progression since they began, as well as all past illnesses and other medical history data such as diet, consumption of toxic, pets, etc.. that may have relevance to the current problem.The specialist in ophthalmology perform a scan neuroftalmológica and all data will assess what additional tests are required to complete the study. Usually these tests include eye tests as perimetry, and nonocular as cranial resonance. The diagnosis of optic neuritis is initially diagnosed suspected to be confirmed with progression of symptoms and findings on scans.
Treatment of optic neuritis
Fortunately, in the vast majority of patients significantly improves vision, is made or no treatment. In cases of optic neuritis typical corticosteroid therapy speeds recovery, but the final vision that will be the same whether corticosteroids are administered or not. Therefore, corticosteroids cause the nerve desinflame faster, but the vision will come to the same point. Atypical cases of optic neuritis may require treatment with high doses of corticosteroids, antibiotics or other drugs, depending on each case.