Optic neuritis in children--clinical and electrophysiological follow-up

Doc Ophthalmol. 2003 Nov;107(3):261-70. doi: 10.1023/b:doop.0000005335.28820.05.


Optic neuritis (ON) in children usually presents with visual loss, relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD), abnormal optic disc appearance, defects of visual field and colour vision, as well as with abnormalities of visual evoked potentials (VEP). Both, clinical and VEP parameters, improve after the attack; the time until recovery, however, is as yet unknown. The aim of this study was to follow-up children with ON for 1 year and to determine clinical and VEP recovery. Twelve children (six with bilateral, six with unilateral ON) were studied in the acute phase and systematically followed-up for 1 year. The results show that initially, visual acuity was diminished in all eyes, while after 1 year, in only 14% of them. Optic disc appearance was abnormal in 83.3% of the eyes in the acute phase, and in 85% after 1 year. At the disease onset RAPD could be detected in 67%, visual field defects in 58.5%, and colour vision defects in 50% of eyes, but none of these abnormalities persisted in any eye until the end of study. VEP were abnormal in 83% of eyes in the acute phase and in 56% at the final follow-up (at 6 or 12 months). VEP normalization, when occurred, was mostly observed during the first 6 months. Complete clinical and VEP recovery was observed in three children. Both, clinical and electrophysiological recovery in children with ON were relatively substantial and fast within the first year. VEP improvement may indicate better prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Optic Neuritis / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pupil Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology