What vision problems could I have from multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system where communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted due to a break down in the insulating myelin that surrounds a person's nerves.

The optic nerve is a common area for inflammation in MS. Because it is responsible for carrying vision signals to the brain, visual disturbances are common. They range from haziness and blurred vision to more serious visual impairment. Often, visual symptoms lessen or disappear after a period of weeks, upon remission. Blindness in MS is rare.

About half of all people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis will have some type of vision problem during the course of their disease. Many MS-related eye problems are temporary. Many come and go repeatedly. Blurred or double vision are the most common early symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Report any type of vision loss to your doctor immediately.

Visual problems in multiple sclerosis (MS) are common and may be due to inflammation of the optic nerve, known as optic neuritis, or lesions along the nerve pathways that control eye movement and visual coordination. Blurred vision, nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements), temporary blindness—usually in one eye—and double vision are also common.

Like many MS symptoms, these should improve over time. It may take months and there is always the chance that it could be permanent. Your neurologist needs to be aware of this symptom. He/she may also refer you to an ophthalmologist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.