Recovery is hopeful for optic neuritis patients

June 6, 2008

A 15-year follow-up study was conducted with patients who had acute optic neuritis. Researchers concluded that ophthalmologists can advise acute optic neuritis patients that the long-term results of treating their condition is favorable.

San Francisco-A 15-year follow-up study was conducted with 454 patients who had acute optic neuritis and participated in the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial (ONTT), a 1988 to 1991 randomized clinical trial. The Optic Neuritis Study Group who conducted the follow-up study concluded that ophthalmologists can advise acute optic neuritis patients that the long-term results of treating their condition is favorable, even if they currently have or develop multiple sclerosis (MS).

From the original ONTT cohort, 294 patients completed the follow-up exam in 2006. Seventy-two percent of the patients had 20/20 vision or better in the affected eye and 66% had 20/20 or better vision in both eyes. Mild decreases in vision were attributed to lens changes in nine patients, which according to researchers, would be expected in an age group with an average age of 48.

Between individuals who were treated with high-dose intravenous corticosteroids and patients who were not, long-term vision quality was similar, although the initial recovery period was shorter for treated patients.

MS patients were more likely to report somewhat reduced quality of life, even though their vision was found to be normal 60% of the time.. According to researchers, patients had difficulty parking a car, using a computer, and experienced double vision and difficulty focusing on moving objects.