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Retrobulbar Neuritis

more about Retrobulbar Neuritis


Optic neuritis


  • The optic nerve consists of a bundle of neurons that carry the electrical impulses generated by images projected on to the back of the eye (retina), to the part of brain where vision occurs.  When damaged, swollen, or inflamed, the optic nerve can cause alterations in vision and even blindness.

  • Vision:

    1. Blurry or a dark spot in the center of the eye
    2. Sudden Blindness may occur
    3. Pain and tenderness deep in the eye or above the eyes
    4. There may be no pain, redness, or itchiness of the eyes
    5. Dimness of light and decreased color vision
    6. Symptoms may get worse when body temperature increases with a fever or hot shower
    7. In 3 out of 4 people, the vision improves or becomes normal after a few weeks

    1. Viruses -- Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox, Herpes Zoster, and Mononucleosis
    2. Bacteria -- sinus infections, Syphilis, and Tuberculosis
    3. Fungi -- Cryptococcus
  • Stroke and other conditions that affect the blood supply (vascular lesions) to the optic nerve
  • Exposure -- long term use of medications (Chloramphenicol) and exposure to chemicals (methyl alcohol and lead)
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  • Idiopathic -- without an identifiable cause

  • History of symptoms and medical exam is essential
  • Blood pressure and body temperature are measured
  • A color chart and a vision chart is used to better assess vision
  • An eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may be called in to look at the eye with a special instrument (ophthalmoscope).
  • The ophthalmologist uses a medication (drop) to enlarge the pupils, and get a better look of the retina.  He or she may see a swelling of the area where the optic nerve starts to form (the optic disk.
  • An MRI (uses magnetic energy to take detailed pictures) may need to be done if tumors, lesions, or MS is suspected.
  • A variety of blood tests may be necessary -- CBC, blood chemistries, ANA, ESR, RPR, and FTA-ABS, are a few of the tests that may help find the cause.
  • A neurologist (brain and nerves) may be called and MS must be ruled out.

  • See causes

  • May need to be observed until cause can be identified
  • If the case is not severe, it can be observed on an outpatient basis.
  • In selected cases, intravenous steroids (Methylprednisolone) are given in the hospital and followed by 1-2 weeks of oral Prednisone at home.
  • Steroids may speed up the recovery

  • Contact your doctor immediately and have your eyes examined.  If you have any questions, call the National Eye Institute at 1-310-496-5248

  • Orbital (structures around the eye) tumors pressing on the optic nerve
  • Severe uncontrolled Hypertension (blood pressure)




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