Thread: MS blindness?
03-02-2011, 05:46 PM #1Registered Member
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- Jan 2011
- United States
I know its possible for MS-related optic neuritis to cause blindness, and that its possible for some symptoms to never go away. Does this mean that its hypothetically possible for someone to suffer permanent blindness?
I've never heard of this actually happening (only on a temporary basis), is that because it's extremely rare or can't happen, or does it happen frequently and I've never heard of it?
03-02-2011, 06:01 PM #2Registered Member
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- Sep 2009
Its been kicking my butt since 2002.
03-02-2011, 06:19 PM #3Registered Member
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- Apr 2007
i think it can become permenant and legally blind, someone can see stuff but not well. so i am uncertain how strict your definition of blind is?
also blindness can come from a lesion on the occipital lobe too, not just ON. the people i have hear that became suddenly blind from ms do so because of a lesion in the occipital lobe.
there was person a news show that was legally blind because here eyes did that rapid back and forth movement--Nystagmus,it was for a different neurological condition and she was a child, but she could see but she was legally blind with no depth perception.
Nystagmus is a common symptom in ms too.
03-02-2011, 06:53 PM #4
While a high percentage of people with optic neuritis have some permanent damage, the recovery percentage is also high. Here is a site I keep as a favorite and refer to:
There are so many variables to optic neuritis, it's hard to predict the outcome. I would never have thought I'd recover as much as I have. It took years. I'm very lucky I know.
03-02-2011, 07:06 PM #5.
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- Jul 2007
- Mankato KS
Optic neuritis started in my right eye but quickly progressed to both eyes. For several months I was essentially blind. It was when I went to my primary care physician about experiencing constipation that he demanded I go in for an MRI, and I was on my way. Solumedrol IV's worked for me, and my sight returned almost immediately.
03-02-2011, 07:35 PM #6
03-02-2011, 07:56 PM #7
Yes, Luongo, it can. It is rare but there are a few members here , myself included, who have lost their vision due to ON. MS can have an effect on the vision in a number of ways, but ON is the one most folks think of and in my case, is the main reason for my visual impairment.
I have had ON 5 times over the course of about four years. That's nothing compared to some other people, but I've been one of the "lucky" ones who hesn't regained but the smallest amounts of vision after each round of ON. So, the right eye (my "good" eye ) is at 20/400 and the left has gone beyond the 20/whatever scale and is down to the counting fingers one, which I can do at 6 inches if you hold your fingers in the right spot.
To be considered legally blind (a term I always thought amusing) your vision has to be 20/200, corrected (or worse) or have a visual field is restricted to 20 degrees. Nothing they can do will correct my vision, but magnifiers and high powered glasses will make things look large enough that I can make a better guess at what they are.
There are some things to keep in mind here. The first is, it really is rare for MS to cause blindness. There are people here who have had ON many,many times and still have their vision. Might be slightly off, but they have it.
Another is that 85%-90% of those considered legally blind have usable vision. Which obviously means that only 10-15% actually are totally blind. The term blind is a far reaching one that by definition includes a very wide range of impairment. So even when the term applies to you, just like MS, it won't apply in the same way to everyone. Heck, my grandmother drove to the doctor the day they told her she was legally blind. She just thought she needed new glasses. She saw the other cars, the lights, stop signs, people, etc. She just couldn't see the details. I'm not saying she was fit to drive by any means, but I hope you get what I'm saying. I couldn't do that. I could see vehicles, but have no idea how close they are. I can see something in the middle of the road, which I know is the line, but I can't always tell you if it's a double or broken.
I use lots of adaptive tech to use a computer and even play some games. For the most part, the vision as bad as it sounds, still allows me to get around, use a computer,etc. I just have to use some modifications and gadgets.
I know I'm rattling on, but the bottom line is, yes it happens, but very rarely. If it does, the term "blind" covers a lot of ground. Take a look at the following links for an idea of what "blind" might entail:
03-02-2011, 08:22 PM #8Registered Member
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- Apr 2007
From that wilkki sight i posted a link to...
low vision is defined as visual acutity of less than 20/60
(it sounds as if it is low vision up to 20/199 in both eyes with correction. it becomes legally blind when both eyes cross over to 20/200 with correction)
legally blind is defined as vision of 20/200 in the BETTER EYE with the use of the best correction possible--so if one eye is better than 20/200 with a corrective devise its not legally blind yet.
blindness is defined as 20/400 or a visual loss to less than 10 degrees in the better eye with the best possible visual correction possible.
my guess is permant low vision is more common with ms than blindness but permenant blindness can happen from ms. its just a tough bar to reach, thankfully.
03-02-2011, 10:05 PM #9
03-02-2011, 11:54 PM #10
Ignoring my other MS stuff that made me stop driving before the vision issues, in New Jersey, you must have better than 20/60 vision, corrected, to drive. When giving a measurement of vision, you would use the best visual measurement, so even if you only have one eye, as long as it's better than 20/60, you can drive in NJ. My best is 20/400, which makes me by legal standards, blind.
My grandmother had 20/200 at the time of her dx. While she was also blind, she was far more capable than I am, but still not legally able to drive. She was fine for cars, lane lines,etc, but couldn't read a street sign. She could see there was a sign, but had no idea what it said. She did eventually lose her vision completely but her dr's dx, notes, etc. (like mine) never said anything different once she went beyond 20/200. We were always simply blind, with coding reflecting the reasons we were/are.
Something we all need to remember is that the numbers 20/whatever mean little outside of legal benefits, restrictions and tax cuts. It does little to accurately describe what and how we see. "Legally blind" encompasses everyone whose vision is as described earlier in the links to the American Foundation for the Blind and the Braille Institute , what ever degree or type of impairment they have.
It is the visual impairments we have and what caused them that matters in our treatment and whether or not we are truly "blind".
03-03-2011, 06:36 PM #11
A lot of the Blindness with MS is a result of Devics Disease, which was believed to be a form of MS, but is a separate Disease. It attacks the Optic nerves and the Spine in most cases. A friend is blind and in a wheelchair.Bill
Scuba, true meaning of Life! USS Wilkes Barre 91, USS Monitor 96, 97, 99 .. Andrea Doria 96, 98 .. San Francisco Maru 09
03-03-2011, 09:24 PM #12Registered Member
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- Apr 2009
- under water
yes, I can happen.
03-03-2011, 09:56 PM #13
I didn't mean to sound like a dolt when I asked this. It's just that my aunt recently revoked my driving privledges because of my ON, which doesn't seem to be getting better . I have one good eye that gets 20/15. But the bad eye is at 20/200. She swears people cannot drive if they only hae one eye. But our state allows one eyed drivers. Also she's been taking me back and forth to work. And the other day I couldn't see a lady walking in the crosswalk. So she's terrified that if I drive I'm destined to hit and kill someone
03-03-2011, 09:59 PM #14
Mrs. Bones gave you the best info (from what I personally know ).
I WAS legally blind in ONE EYE years ago (20/400) due to optic neuritis (central scotoma), but my vision did return to 20/40 in that eye after a year. I've had other episodes of optic neuritis, but none as severe as that episode.
From what I've been told by both my neuro AND my neuro-ophthalmologist, it is VERY RARE to become totally blind due to MS.“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway
03-03-2011, 10:43 PM #15
Oh, no! You didn't sound like a dolt. That was the first thing I asked the neuro-op myself.
With the first round of ON, when it was 20/200 in the affected eye and the other was 20/20, I continued to drive. I was nervous as all get out for the first week or so, but I did it. I avoided high traffic routes, highways and school zones whenever possible. I could indeed drive, just made sure to turn my head instead of glancing to my bad side when driving.The next 2 times I had ON, it effected the same eye, so I continued to drive.
When I began to feel MS might be otherwise effecting my driving, I quit. I picked a good time, as shortly after that, ON developed in the good eye,too.
I believe that even if we are legally allowed to drive, we are still obligated to not drive if our abilities truly limit us, for the safety of those on or near the road. That said, if you test yourself in a safe situation, like a mall parking lot after hours or something, and really are absolutely sure you can do it, maybe you can. Do listen to the input of others, though...the desire for independence and normalcy can make us ignore things about ourselves we'd rather not see.
Has your dr given you an opinion based on what s/he sees in your exams and testing?