Oh the things you will see


When you live with multiple sclerosis, there is a chance you may also have to deal with optic neuritis. That means that your body has decided that your optic nerve is the devil and attacks it with gusto. This can cause pain, agony, blindness, weird vision problems, and just be downright frustrating!


I have had optic neuritis multiple times now over the years and it is firmly in the downright frustrating category for me. I will share with you a few stories about how my life with optic neuritis has been. So far it has affected one eye or the other the majority of the time both eyes are not messed with at the same time. Which for the purposes of surviving is a blessing. Keep in mind that I started this adventure with 20/15 vision and glasses.


First Episode...


We were driving from Maine to Pennsylvania in a camper that we had just bought. It was an old camper and the air conditioner was broken. As we got to PA, it got hotter and hotter. At some point, my body decided that the heat was overwhelming and decided to break. Thankfully I wasn't driving, which is the case most often when we travel. It was like a burst of light exploded in front of my right eye and then almost nothing came back. A giant black hole of nothingness was leftover. I couldn't see out of that eye for almost 3 weeks, and then after treatment with steroids, it started to slowly come back. During an eye visit with the doctor, we determined that my vision was better than it had been before, and now I only needed my glasses to drive!


Episodes two and three...


There was nothing so profound about the second and third time that I had optic neuritis. It didn't seem very special, no big trip, no superheat, just super dumb timing. I had a ton of eye pain and attributed it to allergies. Didn't go to see the doctor because I didn't think much of it. Then boom! There goes the vision. The first of these was my left eye, just a little blurriness, and then some spots. A few weeks and it was mostly back to normal. A few months later my right eye went nuts again and it had streaks of vision loss. Again, some treatment from my doctors, a few months rest, and the eye came back to normal. These two events were more annoying than anything. During these 2 episodes my vision again got better and I hit the 20/20 mark.


Episode four...


In the hospital with COVID (at least I think this is episode 4) I had a relapse. Both eyes decided to crap the bed this time and so driving became totally out of the question. My left eye had black spots where I couldn't see anything, my right eye had double vision. Yep, you read that correctly, my right eye, all by itself, decided that everything it saw should have a shadow and be multiplied. A few weeks, turned a couple of months and the left eye was completely back to normal. I had an appointment with the neuropathologist and learned that the right eye double vision could be permanent time. During the visit he tested my vision, guess what?!?! My vision is now 20/30 even with the double, I could read the small lines.


Conclusion...


I have to say that I love and hate optic neuritis. It hurts, is annoying, and generally makes me distrust going very far on my own......... ever! However, if it continues on the path I have traveled so far, a few more attacks, and I will have eyesight equal to that of a bird of prey. BOOM! Ok, not really, but a girl can try to see the positive side of a crappy situation. Please don't think that everyone who experiences optic neuritis will magically have better vision if it resolves. They probably won't. We have no idea why mine has gotten better. IF you are a person with multiple sclerosis who has also had optic neuritis and your eyesight has gotten better, leave a comment. Perhaps we can find a pattern to the madness and help others. If you are a person with multiple sclerosis who has had optic neuritis and your eyesight has gotten worse, leave a comment too. It's always good to talk to others who have experienced the same series of unfortunate events and survived to tell about it.

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