Damaged optic nerves

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Damaged optic nerves

Postby HarryZ » Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:14 pm

My wife Marg (MS for 35 years) has in the past 6 months had difficulty trying to read. The words become blurred, then better then blurred. Trying to read a newspaper becomes very tiresome for her. A trip to the optometrist 6 months ago and then a referral to the neuro ophthalmologist has resulted in a preliminary diagnosis of damaged optic nerves.

Marg has never had a problem with her eyes and never suffered from any kind of optic neuritis. The doc told her that this damage to her optic nerves is something that didn't happen recently but quite some time ago but he can't tell us what caused the problem. He states it isn't from any of the medications that she is on and is still waiting for some test results to come back but is stumped at the moment.

As anyone here ever experienced something like this before.

Harry
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Postby Melody » Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:45 pm

What is the difference between a damaged optic nerve and optic neuritis??????????
John was diagnosed Jan 2005. On lipitor 20mg .On Copaxone since July 4,2005. Vitamin D3 2000iu-4000iu (depending on sunshine months)June 10 2005(RX::Dr. O'Connor) Omega 3 as well Turmeric since April 2005. Q10 60mg. 1500mg liquid Glucosamine Nov 2005.
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Postby HarryZ » Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:09 pm

Melody wrote:What is the difference between a damaged optic nerve and optic neuritis??????????


Optic neuritis can have several different causes whereby the "electric impulse" from the eye doesn't have a clear path to the brain. Obviously when your optic nerve is damaged you will get a type of "optic neuritis" but in Marg's case, the doc doesn't know if her problem is caused by the MS or something else.

Usually, MS patients who suffer bouts of optic neuritis have the problem in one eye only and the problem most often resolves itself. My wife's problem is in both eyes at the same time which according to the doc, doesn't normally happen in MS patients.

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Postby Muu » Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:46 am

Historically, I have had bouts of ON in both eyes but admittedly not at the same time. My understanding is that repeated attacks can cause scarring and damage. What I don't understand is why your wife's vision is blurred and then appears to recover. Perhaps Eye Doc has some ideas?
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Postby Loobie » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:34 am

I've had bilateral (both eyes) optic neuritis from the word go. It really isn't that rare to have it in both eyes, it is simply not as prevelant. So I wouldn't call it rare. The way my neuoro-optho explained it to me was with an analogy of a cable. Say you have a cable (your optic nerve) and with in this cable there are 100,000 fiber optics. You only need 50,000 of them to work correctly to see properly. So the point was that the MS could have been working on the optic nerve for some time, but doesn't present itelf until you cross the over 50,000 of the fibers damaged threshold. I hope that is understandable. I felt like I didn't explain it very well.

Anyway, good luck with getting that worked out. I often feel that the most debilitating symptom of this disease would not be loss of walking ability or use of limbs but rather blindness since it is our primary sense we use to function. I know I feel more scared when my eyes flare up than when other things flare up.
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Postby EyeDoc » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:41 am

Muu wrote:Historically, I have had bouts of ON in both eyes but admittedly not at the same time. My understanding is that repeated attacks can cause scarring and damage. What I don't understand is why your wife's vision is blurred and then appears to recover. Perhaps Eye Doc has some ideas?
Muu


I used to believe I had answers, but then I got MS! It attacks our nerves and bodies in so many different ways and degrees that it is hard to have any concrete guidleines as to what is "normal" for MS patients or not. I am starting to believe that the best answer is simply "what effects you is what effects you". Confused? Me too!!

I am currently having a second bout of optic neuritis. My first was three years ago when I was diagnosed with MS due to right eye problems. This time, my left eye is having the difficulty. I just finished IV steroids and am now taking oral prednisone. My vision is improving, but I would swear my right eye is starting to be affected as well, only to a much lesser degree. Cripes.

So back to the clinician in me: yes, ON can occur in both eyes simultaneously, but it is more common in only one at a time. Any damage to the optic nerve will affect vision, be it peripheral or central/reading vision. Back to HarryZ's question, optic nerve damage has likely resulted from bouts of ON in the past. If you have ON attacks, a certain amount of permanent damage is done even in remitting/relapsing MS when the function comes back. I should think it is safe to assume that this continual damage may have caught up with your wifes vision, and even though she has no active inflammation currently, she does have some permanent damage. I like Loobie's optic cable analogy, and with apologies to Loobie, I will probably steal that and us it with patients :)
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Postby amelia » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:58 pm

Even though they have dx Gary with Devic's, the ON with either disease would be much the same. He has only had 1 bad ON in 1 eye and is blind in RE and mostly in LE. So, even though there is not obvious imflammation going on, there is still damaging stuff going on. Gary's ON did not show up on the MRI when he was 20/400. go figure, but it goes to show that damge is going on somewhere / somehow else.
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Postby HarryZ » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:18 am

Marg saw the low vision opthomologist a couple of days ago and he confirmed that her sight problems from the damaged optic nerves have likely been caused by several years of MS.

The doc said that the nerves from the eye to the brain had been able to compensate for the damage for many years but eventually were not able to handle the problems any longer. The good news is that she doesn't have any peripheral sight problems at this time.

He prescribed her 4 different viewing devices that hopefully will give her some quality of life back. She gets these devices next week.

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Postby amelia » Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:53 am

Gary has a pair of binoculars that are made like glasses. They work wonderful for TV viewing. He wore them once to watch our daughter play ball. We were sitting behind home plate. He screamed and said no more. When they pitched the ball, it brought it up so close to him he thought it would hit him. LOL
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Postby HarryZ » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:52 pm

Amelia,

amelia wrote:Gary has a pair of binoculars that are made like glasses. They work wonderful for TV viewing. He wore them once to watch our daughter play ball. We were sitting behind home plate. He screamed and said no more. When they pitched the ball, it brought it up so close to him he thought it would hit him. LOL


Marg is going to be getting a pair of glasses for watching tv...regular kind of lens as well as two smaller lenses that sit out in front of the normal lens. A wheel on the ear bar adjusts the focus...they look weird but certainly do the trick as she tested them in the doc's office.

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Postby amelia » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:11 pm

Can you get a name brand on those or a pic on the internet? Gary's gripe with his is the viewing area is small.
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Postby HarryZ » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:53 pm

Amelia,

amelia wrote:Can you get a name brand on those or a pic on the internet? Gary's gripe with his is the viewing area is small.


The doc tried a pair on Marg in his office and did some tests but I don't know what the brand name of the glasses was. We expect them to come in sometime this week (hopefully) and I'll be able to give you all the details at that time.

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