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What is it?

An inflamed, swollen or irritated optic nerve. It is sometimes referred to as “papillitis” when the visible portion of the nerve is inflamed. It is called “retrobulbar neuritis” when the swollen portion of the nerve lies behind the eyeball.

Who does it affect?

There are a number of causes for optic neuritis. Some are related to eye problems while others may be due to systemic problems that are just showing up in the eye. Often optic neuritis follows flu-like symptoms in some people.

How is it treated?

Treatment depends upon first identifying the specific cause of the inflammation. Visual fields, X-rays, MRIs of the nerve and brain and laboratory tests are helpful in making the diagnosis. Often, the best treatment is to allow the eye to heal itself normally and to be closely monitored by your eye doctor.