Aims The aim of this study is to provide a clinical update on optic neuritis (ON), its association with multiple sclerosis (MS), and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Methods This study included a PubMed review of the literature written in the English language. Results ON in adults is typically idiopathic or demyelinating, and is characterised by unilateral, subacute, painful loss of vision that is not associated with any systemic or other neurological symptoms. Demyelinating ON is associated with MS, and we review the key studies of ON including the ON treatment trial and several other MS treatment trials and NMO. Conclusion Acute demyelinating ON can occur in isolation or be associated with MS. Typical ON does not require additional evaluation other than cranial magnetic resonance imaging. NMO is likely a separate disorder from MS and the ON in NMO has a different treatment and prognosis. Methodology The authors conducted an English language search using Pubmed from the years 1964 to 2010 using the search terms ON, MS and NMO. The authors included original articles, review articles, and case reports, which revealed new aspects as far as epidemiology, histopathology, clinical manifestations, imaging, genetics, and treatment of ON. Titles were reviewed for topicality and full references were obtained. Letters to the editor, unpublished work, and abstracts were not included in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-842
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • demyelinating optic neuritis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuromyelitis optica
  • optic neuritis
  • visual loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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