Retrobulbar Neuritis

What Is It?

Retrobulbar neuritis is a form of optic neuritis in which the optic nerve, which is at the back of the eye, becomes inflamed. The inflamed area is between the back of the eye and the brain. The optic nerve contains fibers that carry visual information from the nerve cells in the retina to the nerve cells in the brain. When these fibers become inflamed, visual signaling to the brain becomes disrupted, and vision is impaired.

Retrobulbar neuritis can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • Infections such as meningitis, syphilis, and various viral illnesses

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Tumors

  • Exposure to certain chemicals or drugs

  • Allergic reactions

However, in many cases, the cause is unknown. Vision loss can be minimal or the disease can result in complete blindness.

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