Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Optic Neuritis

Optic Neuritis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Optic nerve dysfunction due to an inflammatory process, commonly associated with myelin destruction
  • Highly associated with multiple sclerosis (MS); presenting feature in 15–20% of MS patients
  • Grouped by site of inflammation:
    • Papillitis: Inflammation of the optic disk
    • Retrobulbar neuritis: Inflammation of the optic nerve proximal to the globe
  • 5 yr risk for clinically definite MS following optic neuritis:
    • Normal MRI—16%
    • >3 lesions on MRI—51%
  • Recurrence is seen in 35% of patients.

Risk Factors

High prevalence of A23, B7, and DR2 HLA alleles in patients with optic neuritis:
  • Especially those that progress to clinically definite MS


  • Idiopathic:
    • Most common
    • Single isolated events
  • MS:
    • 20–50% of patients with optic neuritis
  • Viral infections:
    • Chicken pox
    • Measles
    • Mononucleosis
    • HSV and HZV
    • Encephalitis
  • Postviral optic neuritis:
    • Usually occurs 4–6 wk after a nonspecific viral illness
  • Granulomatous inflammation:
    • TB
    • Syphilis
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Cryptococcal infection
  • SLE
  • HIV:
    • Cytomegalovirus
    • Toxoplasmosis
    • Histoplasmosis
    • Cryptococcus
  • Lyme disease
  • Contiguous inflammation of meninges, orbit, sinuses, and intraocular inflammation
  • Drug induced:
    • Amiodarone
    • Ethambutol
    • Tamoxifen

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Optic Neuritis." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307054/all/Optic_Neuritis.
Optic Neuritis. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307054/all/Optic_Neuritis. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Optic Neuritis. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307054/all/Optic_Neuritis
Optic Neuritis [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307054/all/Optic_Neuritis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Optic Neuritis ID - 307054 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307054/all/Optic_Neuritis PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -