Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

My Mission to Educate People on Optic Neuritis

Picture of man talking about optic neuritisThe Optic Neuritis Foundation, Inc. (ONF) is a 501-c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to: Increase public awareness about optic neuritis (ON) and other neuropathies, support research and patient-care efforts by donating to hospitals and/or eye centers, and support patients with the diagnosis of optic neuritis and other neuropathies by providing financial and/or resource assistance.

I started this foundation in 2009 when I was diagnosed with Optic Neuritis. I had 20/20 vision and never had issues with my vision; however one day I was working and found myself bumping into things that were right in front of me. I felt like I had something in my eye that I couldn’t remove and pain with the movement of my eye. I went to an ophthalmologist and couldn’t see to finish the exam in my right eye. After seeing several doctors I was finally afforded the opportunity to go to Emory Eye Center in Atlanta. I was hospitalized for a week with steroids to regain my sight back. However, today I have no center vision and poor peripheral in my right eye. The diagnosis was Optic Neuritis. Optic Neuritis might have destroyed my sight but it didn’t take my vision. I learned through my pain that it could be others out there that may be going through the same thing and my assignment became clear, Serve.

I wanted to share with you some information on Optic Neuritis. It is an inflammation of the optic nerve. Here are some interesting stats on this onset:

  • For 15 to 20% of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Optic Neuritis is their first sign.
  • 3% of patients go blind from Optic Neuritis, most patients regain their sight back
  • Some studies show that 19% of patients will have a reoccurrence of optic neuritis in the affected eye and 17% of patients will develop Optic Neuritis in the other eye in 10 years

So what causes this onset, one might ask? That is a great question. Multiple Sclerosis from what we have found is the dominant cause but here are just a few other causes:

  • Cat Scratch
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Myambutol (drug to treat tuberculosis)
  • Lyme Disease
  • STD’s (e.g., syphilis, herpes)

One of our vision doctors Dr. Robert Spector, MD said it best, “You don’t have to have MS, to have Optic Neuritis, and you don’t have to have Optic Neuritis to have MS.”

Picture of two cars, one on the left is blurred out and the one on the right is not.From our research we have found that young adults from the ages of 18 to 45 mostly will be affected and an estimated 115 out of 100,000 people have ON. Women are mostly likely to get this onset also. This image shows a clear picture of what a patient that has this onset will see.

I am thankful that my vision is stable and I wanted to inform and encourage others and let them know that optic neuritis isn’t fatal but it’s definitely not fair. I am healthy and stable and I can do anything I choose to do and I choose to serve. ONF has board members that care as much as I do about the vision health of others. ONF has many opportunities for the public to learn more about what we do and the onset itself. We are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. We have worked so far with two board certified Neuro Ophthalmologist to help us create educational videos on Optic Neuritis and the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta to have great educational seminars on MS and vision health. We are growing this year in 2016 into more optic neuropathies so that everyone can learn. I invite you to our website and to continue to check out our YouTube page for more education and to get your questions answered if you have been affected by this onset.

I wanted to write this blog post for it to be informative on Optic Neuritis. Share a little hope for those that haven’t heard about this onset to know that only 3% of persons go blind and many regain their sight back. I know… I know already what you are going to say, “Well, yours didn’t come back all the way?” You are right but I didn’t know and I waited before I acted. That is why if I can do anything, I would love to encourage you to know your body and if something isn’t right please go and see an ophthalmologist. Share your vision history with them and share your concerns. Take action today!


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Comment by Gordoncealf; November 25, 2016 6:19am

I have been trying to contact you for several days. I would like to do a fundraiser for your foundation but can not get in touch with you. I have tried through your website and fb page. Pleas email me as soon as you can. I need your non profit info. - Adam R.

Comment by Adam Ryan; February 06, 2016 1:18am

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