Uhthoff’s Syndrome

Uhthoff’s syndrome is described by patients as a dimming or reduction in vision, usually associated with exercise or overheating. It indicates partial myelin damage along the optic nerve as the visual signal goes from the eye to the brain. As a person’s temperature rises, even by less than one degree, the ability to conduct nerve impulses along damaged nerves is reduced. This visual problem improves with rest.

Non-Pharmacologic Management

The treatment is to avoid overheating, which varies from patient to patient. Once you learn your limits, you may plan ahead and arrange your activities accordingly. For instance, if you enjoy participating in sports or other physical activities when outdoors, plan to do so during the cooler time of day, usually in the morning. This will help to reduce your risk of overheating.

Knowing when to stop and take a break from physical activity is also important. Cooling techniques, such as sucking on ice chips or using cooling devices (which include cooling vests and wraps) can help to reduce the effects of overheating.

Updated in May 2024 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer

Go to Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Management

Go to Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Listing

Go to Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Medications