If you have signs and symptoms of optic neuritis, you'll likely see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you might be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye diseases (ophthalmologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, and for how long. Describe your symptoms as specifically as possible, including rating the severity of your vision loss and whether you see colors differently.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent stressors or major life changes.
- Make a list of your key medical information. Your doctor will want to know about any recent infectious illnesses you've had, as well as any other conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Also write down the names of all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember information your doctor gives you.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For optic neuritis, questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What are the possible side effects of the medications you're recommending?
- How fully do you expect I will recover, and how long will that take?
- How will you monitor my progress?
- Does this condition put me at risk of other medical conditions?
- How will you evaluate my risk of related conditions?
- If tests indicate that I'm at increased risk of other medical conditions, are there treatments that can help reduce my risk?
- Are genetic factors associated with my condition? Are my relatives at risk?
- Do you recommend genetic testing for my immediate family?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Do you have brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Feb. 18, 2014
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- How would you describe your symptoms?
- How significantly has your vision decreased?
- Do colors look less vivid?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better, or worse, such as strenuous exercise or a hot shower?
- Have you noticed problems with movement and coordination?
- Have you noticed numbness or weakness in your arms or legs?
- Have you recently had an infection?
- Have you been diagnosed for other medical conditions?
- Have any close relatives been diagnosed with optic neuritis?
- Have any close relatives been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?
- Osborne B, et al. Optic neuritis: Pathophysiology, clinical features, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 9, 2013.
- Osborne B, et al. Optic neuritis: Prognosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 9, 2013.
- Riordan-Eva P, et al. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=720. Accessed Sept. 9, 2013.
- Pau D, et al. Optic neuritis. Eye. 2011;25:833.
- Optic neuritis. The Transverse Myelitis Association. http://myelitis.org/symptoms-conditions/optic-neuritis/. Accessed Sept. 9, 2013.
- Osborne BJ, et al. Optic neuritis and the risk of MS: Differential diagnosis and management. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2009;76:181.
- Aminoff MJ, et al. Clinical Neurology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=66. Accessed Sept. 9, 2013.