Visual function 15 years after optic neuritis: a final follow-up report from the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial

Ophthalmology. 2008 Jun;115(6):1079-1082.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.08.004. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Optic Neuritis / drug therapy
  • Optic Neuritis / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*


  • Glucocorticoids