NEUROMYELITIS OPTICA

Description

  • Central nervous system disorder that primarily affects the eye nerves (optic neuritis) and the spinal cord (myelitis)

Symptoms

  • Loss or blurring of vision in one or both eyes
  • Loss of color vision
  • Eye pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of blowel or bladder control
  • Retention of urine or difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Spasticity
  • Shooting pain or tingling in the neck, back or abdomen
  • Uncontrollable nausea and vomiting
  • Uncontrollable hiccups
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion, seizures or coma can occur in children

Causes

  • Appears after an infection
  • Autoimmune condition

Risk Factors

  • Family history of autoimmunity

Diagnostic Tests

  • Neurologic exam
  • Medical history
  • MRI  of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Blood tests
  • Evoked potentials (EPs) test
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

Treatment

  • Intravenous high-dose corticosteroids -methylprednisolone
  • Plasma exchange
  • Carbamazepine
  • Immunosuppressive drugs :
  • Azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)
  • Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)
  • Rituximab (Rituxan)