How are different visual problems treated in multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Louis Rosner

The two basic forms of vision problems are decreased acuity - blurred or cloudy vision or black areas - and double vision, when the object can also seem to jump or move. The treatment, as with many multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, depends on the stage of the problem. If it is part of a new attack, visual loss often responds dramatically to a short course of steroids (cortisone), often returning completely to normal. If a problem persists, an ophthalmologist should be consulted to prescribe glasses, magnifying glasses, or special lenses.

Double vision (diplopia) is rarely a permanent residual, but when it occurs, covering one eye with an eye patch, or glasses with a prism or frosted lens on one side, completely eliminates the problem. Nystagmus, or jerky movements of the eye, is treated with use of an eye patch. It is recommended that the patch be used alternately over the left and right eyes.

The rare situation of homonymous hemianopsia, in which vision is lost in the right or left half of each eye, usually recovers completely, but when it persists, the patient can learn to compensate by simply turning the head to the affected side.

Other visual aberrations, such as light sensitivity, may interfere with seeing things clearly. For this and other rare situations, an ophthalmologist will have individual remedies such as recommending yellow lenses to lessen contrast problems.

Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

Too often, multiple sclerosis is thought of only as "the crippler of young adults." But in fact, 75 percent of all people with MS will never need a wheelchair. In Multiple Sclerosis, Dr. Louis J....

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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.