Visual problems are common among those with MS and are often a first sign of the disease. The most common problems are decreased or blurred vision (caused by optic neuritis), double vision (diplopia), and shaking/involuntary movements of the eyes (nystagmus). Visual problems in MS are usually temporary, and similar to other MS symptoms, may also be worsened by stress, fatigue, infection, certain medications, or an increase in temperature.
At times, the doctor may decide that the best treatment is to wait for the inflammation to go down and to see if the visual symptoms disappear on their own, reserving steroid treatment for more severe attacks. Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) may also be used to reduce disease activity in the brain, which help to reduce the development of visual difficulties. Several non-pharmaceutical options, such as an eye patch or yellow lenses, are also available to help people cope with visual changes.
Types of Visual Disorders
Treatment of Visual Disorders
Updated in July 2023 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer
Original content by Robert K. Shin, MD