Eyes and sight

  • Man standing behind reflection in glass window

Many people with MS have a problem with their vision at one time or another. It’s often an early symptom, although problems can occur at any time.

The most common problems with vision in MS are optic neuritis and eye movement problems. 

Optic neuritis is the name for inflammation of the optic nerve. This is the nerve that carries messages from the eye to the brain. The effect it can have on your sight varies, from blurred vision to complete loss of sight.

Path of trees getting blurred in distance

Most people’s sight recovers well from optic neuritis, with most people showing signs of improvement within five weeks. Steroids can help speed up recovery.

Find out more about optic neuritis

In some people with MS, the nerve pathways that control the movement of their eyes can be affected. As a result their eyes may not move smoothly, or the two eyes may be out of alignment.

Close up on man wearing glasses

The two most common eye movement problems in MS are double vision (diplopia) and involuntary eye movements (nystagmus).

Find out more about eye movement problems

Changes to vision, whether they’re temporary or longer lasting, can have a major impact on your life. You may find it’s harder to do the things you normally do, or that you have have to ask someone else to help you.

Close up on man's eye

However your vision is affected, there are usually things you can do to make it easier for you to carry out your normal activities. 

Find out more about living with sight problems

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