Optic neuritis and autoimmune optic neuropathies: advances in diagnosis and treatment

Jeffrey L. Bennett, Fiona Costello, John J. Chen, Axel Petzold, Valérie Biousse, Nancy J. Newman, Steven L. Galetta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Optic neuritis is an inflammatory optic neuropathy that is commonly indicative of autoimmune neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease, and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. Early clinical recognition of optic neuritis is important in determining the potential aetiology, which has bearing on prognosis and treatment. Regaining high-contrast visual acuity is common in people with idiopathic optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis-associated optic neuritis; however, residual deficits in contrast sensitivity, binocular vision, and motion perception might impair vision-specific quality-of-life metrics. In contrast, recovery of visual acuity can be poorer and optic nerve atrophy more severe in individuals who are seropositive for antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, AQP4, and CRMP5 than in individuals with typical optic neuritis from idiopathic or multiple-sclerosis associated optic neuritis. Key clinical, imaging, and laboratory findings differentiate these disorders, allowing clinicians to focus their diagnostic studies and optimise acute and preventive treatments. Guided by early and accurate diagnosis of optic neuritis subtypes, the timely use of high-dose corticosteroids and, in some instances, plasmapheresis could prevent loss of high-contrast vision, improve contrast sensitivity, and preserve colour vision and visual fields. Advancements in our knowledge, diagnosis, and treatment of optic neuritis will ultimately improve our understanding of autoimmune neurological disorders, improve clinical trial design, and spearhead therapeutic innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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