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Question:
I have MS and have had double vision in my right eye. What eye diseases or problems (besides optic neuritis) are caused by MS?

Answer:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be thought of as an inflammatory process involving different areas of the central nervous system. MS derived its name from the multiple scarred areas that develop within the brain, known as plaques. These plaques are easily diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 55 percent of people with MS will have an episode of optic neuritis. Frequently, it's the first symptom of the disease.

Double vision occurs when the nerves that control the eye muscles develop plaques or demyelination. This leads to weakness of the eye muscle(s) involved and loss of particular eye movements or loss of coordination of eye movements. Although annoying, double vision usually resolves on its own without medical treatment. Also, nystagmus, or uncontrolled horizontal or vertical eye movements, is another common symptom of MS. Nystagmus may be mild or it may be severe enough to impair vision. Some medications and special prisms have been reported to be successful in treating the visual deficits caused by nystagmus. Temporary blindness in one eye may occur at the time of an acute exacerbation of MS. Temporary blindness is most often due to optic neuritis.

A less common condition that develops in MS is uveitis. Uveitis is an inflammation inside the eye in which inflammatory cells cross from the bloodstream into the eye causing floaters, blurred vision and occasionally ocular pain. Many different inflammatory conditions can cause uveitis, also referred to as iritis, but the most common form of uveitis in MS is known as pars planitis. In this condition, the inflammatory cells are focused in the back of the eye along the peripheral retina. It is very important for MS patients to have routine visits with an Eye M.D. (ophthalmologist) to help with diagnosis and treatment of these various eye conditions that are possible in MS.

Answered by: W. Barry Lee, MDDr. W. Barry Lee

Categories: Eye Diseases

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Answered: Aug 28, 2012

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