Objective: To assess visual function 15 years after acute unilateral optic neuritis.
Design: Longitudinal follow-up of a randomized clinical trial.
Participants: Two hundred ninety-four patients who were randomized in the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial between 1988 and 1991 and underwent examination in 2006.
Testing: A neuro-ophthalmic examination included measurements of visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual field. Quality of life was assessed with the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire and Neuro-ophthalmic Supplement.
Main outcome measures: Abnormal vision and health-related quality-of-life scores.
Results: Seventy-two percent of the eyes affected with optic neuritis at study entry had visual acuity of > or = 20/20 and 66% of patients had > or = 20/20 acuity in both eyes. On average, visual function was slightly worse among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) than among with those without MS. As expected, quality-of-life scores were lower when acuity was reduced and when neurologic disability from MS was present.
Conclusions: Long-term visual outcome is favorable for the majority of patients who experience optic neuritis even when MS is present.