Acute Optic Neuritis (AON) is an acute, rare inflammatory disease of the optic nerve. The classic triad of inflammatory optic neuritis consists of loss of vision, periocular pain and dyschromatopsia, and is unilateral in 70% of adults (Pau et al. Eye 2011). Inflammation of the optic nerve induces significant demyelination and axonal damage, leading to permanent visual dysfunction. Acute ON is closely related to Multiple Sclerosis as it is the initial presentation in approximately 20% of cases.
Standard of Care
Patients that suffer an AON episode are currently treated with IV corticosteroids for 3-5 days. This treatment may hasten recovery due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects, but it has no effect on visual outcome, which depends on axonal damage produced in the optic nerve during the inflammation.
AON uses to happen in young people (20-40 years old). The incidence of new cases of AON has been historically estimated at 5/100,000 cases although recent epidemiological data suggests it may have increased (Martínez-Lapiscina et al. J Neurol. 2014).