There is Way for Coping with Multiple Sclerosis Vision Disturbances

By: Researcher Taymur

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis and Vision

If you have been recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), you probably wonder how the body will be affected by this disease. Most people are familiar with the physical effects, like:

  • unsteady gait
  • tingling in parts of the body
  • weakness or numbness in your limbs
  • tremor

Understanding MS Affect Your Vision.

At some stage, individuals with MS are likely to experience double vision or blurred vision. You may also lose your sight partially or completely. This often happens at a time with one eye. Those with partial or complete vision problems are more likely to end up with some form of permanent loss of vision.

Improvements in vision can be a big adjustment if you have MS. Understanding you have options is crucial. Occupational and physical therapists will help you learn how to live a healthy, productive way of living your daily life.

Understanding Types of Vision Disturbances

Vision issues may come and go for individuals with MS. They can only affect one or both eyes. The issues may get worse and then go home, or they may hang around.

Learning the types of visual disturbances that you may encounter will help you prepare to cope with them if they are permanent.

Common MS-related Visual Disturbances include:

1st is Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis causes vision in one eye to be blurred or hazy. This effect in your field of vision could be represented as a smudge. You may also have mild pain or discomfort, especially when you move your eye. The greatest visual disturbance is likely to be in the center of your vision field, but it can also cause side-seeing trouble. Colors may not be as vibrant as usual.

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Optic neuritis occurs when the protective coating around the optic nerve begins to break down through MS. It’s called demyelination this cycle. As MS worsens, demyelination becomes wider and more chronic. This often means that the symptoms will get worse and the body may not fully return to normal once the symptoms are gone.

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, at least once during the course of the disorder, 70% of people with MS will experience optic neuritis. Optic neuritis may be their first symptom of MS for some people.

For up to two weeks, the symptoms of pain and blurred vision may get worse and then start to improve.

Many people have normal vision of an acute episode of optic neuritis within two to six months. Generally African-Americans suffer more serious loss of vision, with one Trusted Source study showing just 61 percent restoration of vision after a year. In contrast, their vision was restored in 92 percent of Caucasians. A specific Trusted Source study found the more serious the attack, the less severe the outcome.

2nd is Diplopia

Each eye transmits the same information to the brain in normal functioning eyes for it to perceive and grow into an image. Diplopia, or double vision, occurs when two objects are sent to the brain by the eyes. It confuses the mind and can make you see twice as much.

Diplopia is normal once the brainstem is damaged by MS. The brainstem helps to coordinate the movement of the eyes, so any damage can result in mixed eye signals.

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Diplopia can be fully and spontaneously resolved, although progressive MS can lead to persistent double vision.

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3rd is Nystagmus

Nystagmus is an unintentional eye movement. The movement is often rhythmic, resulting in the eye feeling jerking or jumping. Because of these uncontrolled motions, you can feel dizziness and nausea.

Oscillopsia is also common in people with MS, a feeling that the world is swinging from side to side or up and down.

A MS attack on the inner ear or the cerebellum, the control center of the brain, also triggers this form of visual disruption. Some people experience it only when they look in one direction. With some activities, the symptoms may get worse.

Typically, nystagmus occurs as a chronic or relapse symptom of MS. Treatment can help repair your sense of balance and vision.

4th is Blindness

As the severity of MS increases, so will the symptoms. It involves the dream you have. Individuals with MS can suffer a partial or complete blindness. Advanced demyelination may damage the vision responsible for your optic nerve or other parts of your body. This can have a lasting effect on the vision.

Understanding Coping with Vision Changes

Understanding your causes can help prevent or decrease your recurrence rate. A trigger is anything that triggers or makes the symptoms worse. For example, people with their MS symptoms may have a harder time in warm environments.

A slightly higher core body temperature impairs a demyelinated nerve’s ability to perform electrical impulses, growing symptoms of MS, and blurring vision. People with MS may use cooling jackets or neck wraps during outdoor or physical activity to maintain body temperature. You can also wear lightweight clothing and enjoy frozen drinks and ice pops.

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Understanding Other Triggers Include:

  • fatigue
  • lack of sleep
  • cold, increase spasticity
  • stress

Consult with your physician to identify potential causes so that the symptoms can be better managed.

You should also be prepared to live with them in addition to trying to eliminate visual problems. Visual distractions can affect your life profoundly, both in terms of daily living and emotional well-being.

Understanding Doctor Needs

Having a supportive, elevating support group between your peers, family members, and larger community will help you prepare for and embrace visual changes that can become more permanent. Your doctor may also recommend a community organization to help people with vision issues learn new ways of living their lives. Talk to your doctor, psychologist, or community center for ideas at your clinic.

Resources

nationalmssociety.org/Living-Well-With-MS/Diet-Exercise-Healthy-Behaviors/Heat-Temperature-Sensitivity

mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18717046

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