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Article
April 1980

Optic Neuritis and Its Differential Diagnosis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1980;98(4):773. doi:10.1001/archopht.1980.01020030767027

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Abstract

Look up "optic neuritis" in any textbook of ophthalmology published in the last five years and you will have a clear, concise, two-page description of the disease. Why then do we need a 282-page book on optic neuritis? Read another general textbook and you will find another concise description, with some important details changed. Read a third book and you will find yet another short description with a third set of facts. Now try to use what you have learned!

It is hard to be concise about optic neuritis. The diagnosis is sometimes difficult to make, the clinical picture is strewn with exceptions (eg, permanent visual loss), and inexplicable symptoms (photopsias) are common. The literature on optic neuritis is muzzy. Some clinical reviews are retrospective, some prospective, and some introspective. Every series gives a different prognosis for the development of multiple sclerosis, and every author recommends a different evaluation.

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