9 Home Remedies For Optic Neuritis & Other Treatment Options

A list of every possible method to soothe this painful inflammatory condition.

Medically reviewed by Caroline Duncan, MD Caroline Duncan Caroline DuncanMD facebook_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , MSc Shaheen Naser MSc Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Dipti Sharma MA (English) Experience: 2 years
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Optic neuritis is an inflammatory condition in which the optic nerve becomes inflamed. Since optic neuritis is one of the first signs of demyelinating disease, this condition should not be neglected (1). Prompt optic neuritis treatment can help reduce the pain associated with the condition, restore complete vision and prevent further damage to your eyes.

This disease is expected to have a yearly incidence of 5 per 100,000 people. So, don’t ignore sudden blindness or sharp pain in one of your eyes the next time you experience it because your symptoms could suggest a more serious problem. Read on to learn more about optic neuritis and how to treat it naturally. Scroll down!

What Is Optic Neuritis?

Optic neuritis (ON) is a medical condition resulting from the inflammation of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying visual information from your eyes to your brain. An inflammation in this nerve can cause temporary vision loss in one or both eyes and may also be accompanied by pain. However, as the inflammation subsides, you are likely to get your vision back.

Optic neuritis is also referred to as optic papillitis if the affected part of the nerve is the head, or as retrobulbar neuritis if the posterior part of the optic nerve is involved. When both parts of the optic nerve are inflamed, the condition is known as bilateral optic neuritis.

Most individuals affected by optic neuritis tend to get their vision back in 2 to 3 months. But it may take up to 12 months for complete recovery.

Gretchen Miller, a certified art therapist and blogger, recounted her experience with optic neuritis in her blog. For her, the condition developed overnight and stayed for around 3 weeks during which she had vision problems. She said, “Thankfully, my vision slowly restored to normal in about a month and the inflammation didn’t leave any serious permanent damage to the myelin surrounding my optic nerve fibers (i).”

The onset of optic neuritis is typically characterized by three common symptoms.

Signs And Symptoms

Individuals who develop optic neuritis usually exhibit three major symptoms. They are:

  • Loss of vision in any one of the eyes that may be mild or severe and may last for 7 to 10 days
  • Pain around the affected eye that worsens with any kind of eye movement (periocular pain)
  • Inability to detect colors correctly (dyschromatopsia)

Other symptoms that may also be seen in individuals with optic neuritis are:

  • A perception of flashing lights in one or both eyes (photopsia)
  • Changes in the reaction of the pupil to bright lights (constriction)
  • Worsening of vision due to an increase in the body temperature

Most cases of optic neuritis are idiopathic, i.e., their cause remains undetected. However, conditions and factors that are believed to cause optic neuritis are listed below.

Causes Of And Risk Factors For Optic Neuritis

One of the most commonly known causes of optic neuritis is multiple sclerosis (MS).

A blogger shared his experience about dealing with optic neuritis in his blog. He said, “I’ve had optic neuritis three times now, all associated with multiple sclerosis, and should say right off the bat that no two episodes (for me) have been identical. The first time I had it, it was “just” painful with no real vision loss. The next two episodes involved vision loss (ii).”

Other diseases that are associated with the development of optic neuritis are:

  • Neuromyelitis opticai  A rare autoimmune central nervous system disorder that causes inflammation in nerves of the eye and spinal cord.
  • Schilder’s disease: A demyelinating disease of the central nervous system
  • Sarcoidosis: A disease that causes inflammation in many of the body’s tissues and organs

Infections that are associated with optic neuritis are:

  • Measles
  • Tuberculosisi  A potentially infectious bacterial disease that usually attacks the lungs and may also spread to other parts of the body.
  • Mumps
  • Encephalitisi  An acute inflammation or swelling of the brain tissue caused by an infection or autoimmune condition. (viral)
  • Sinusitisi  An inflammation or swelling of the cavities around the nasal passages, usually caused by an infection.
  • Shingles
  • Lyme disease

Other factors that can also put you at a higher risk of developing optic neuritis include:

  • Vaccinations: Certain vaccinations can cause an immune response following their administration.
  • Exposure to some chemicals or drugs
  • Gender and Age: Females between 18 and 45 years of age are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
  • Living at high altitudes
  • Some genetic mutations increase the risk of developing optic neuritis.

In rare cases, optic neuritis can also lead to complications.

Complications

Complications that may arise from optic neuritis are:

  • Permanent damage to the optic nerve
  • Partial loss of ability to discriminate between colors due to decreased visual acuity
  • Side effects such as weakened immunity, weight gain, or mood changes from steroid medications often used to treat optic neuritis

Eye conditions are often serious and can cause permanent loss of vision and other issues related to it. Therefore, in the event of any of the following, consult your neurologist doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

When To See A Doctor?

You should contact your doctor immediately if:

  • you develop any new symptoms in addition to the existing ones
  • you develop unusual symptoms like numbness or weakness
  • symptoms worsen or don’t show any improvement with treatment

You can also visit your doctor to confirm your condition and rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.

Diagnosis

The ophthalmologist may conduct any of the following tests to diagnose your condition:

  • An eye examination in which vision and perception of colors are measured.
  • Ophthalmoscopy: A test that involves shining a bright light towards the eyes to evaluate the optic disks.
  • A pupillary light reaction test in which a flashlight is directed towards the eyes to see how they respond to the light.

A few other tests that may be used for diagnosing optic neuritis include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), visual field test, blood tests, and optical coherence tomographyi  A non-invasive imaging technique that uses reflected light to get images of the back of your eye. .

Your doctor may also ask you to return for a follow-up appointment.

Once you are diagnosed with optic neuritis, you may be assisted in a number of ways to help improve your condition faster. The following are some of the medications often prescribed to patients with optic neuritis to reduce the inflammation of the optic nerve.

Medical Treatments

Medical treatments for optic neuritis usually include:

  • Intravenous steroid therapy
  • Plasma exchange therapy

These therapies help in speeding your recovery and rehabilitation from optic neuritis. On the downside, such medical treatments may also lead to varying side effects like weight gain, mood changes, insomnia, facial flushing, etc.

In addition to these, your doctor may prescribe immunosuppressants, low vision aid, and eye drops to help treat adult optic neuritis.

If you want to combat optic neuritis without having to face the side effects associated with the potential medications used to treat this, here are some excellent natural alternatives.

How To Treat Optic Neuritis Naturally

  1. Vitamins
  2. Essential Oils
  3. Soybean Milk
  4. Barley
  5. Epsom Salt
  6. Cold Compress
  7. Green Tea
  8. Yogurt
  9. Carrot And Spinach Juice

9 Natural Remedies To Treat Optic Neuritis

1. Vitamins

Vitamins for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock

Many vitamins have a positive effect on individuals with optic neuritis. Vitamins C, D, and B12 were found to be effective in treating cases of optic neuritis (2), (3), (4).

To aid in restoring these varying deficiencies, you can consume foods rich in these nutrients like citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, fresh fish, cheese, eggs, poultry, and dairy. You can also take additional supplements that provide these vitamins after having a word with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Back To TOC

2. Essential Oils

a. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 6 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or other carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add six drops of lavender oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil or other carrier oil.
  2. Mix well and apply to your temples, chest, neck, and behind your ears.
  3. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes until it is completely absorbed.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Lavender essential oil is one of the best remedies for treating optic neuritis. It exhibits strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities that soothe inflammation of the optic nerve (5). Lavender oil also helps in reducing pain and headaches associated with optic neuritis.

b. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 6 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or other carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a teaspoon of coconut oil or other carrier oil and mix in six drops of peppermint oil.
  2. Massage the mixture gently onto your temples, chest, and neck.
  3. Leave the mixture on overnight.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Why This Works

Peppermint oil is soothing, cooling, and pain-relieving – thanks to its menthol content. These properties of peppermint oil help in combating the pain and inflammation associated with optic neuritis (6).

Many essential oils are not suitable for children. Hence, use peppermint oil for children under five only after consulting a doctor.

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3. Soybean Milk

Soybean milk for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 cup of soybean milk
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of honey to a cup of soybean milk.
  2. Mix well and drink daily.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this once daily.

Why This Works

The anti-inflammatory activities of soybean help in relieving pain and inflammation (7). Regular consumption of soy milk can work wonderfully in treating an inflamed optic nerve.

Note

This study was conducted on a population

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4. Barley

Barley for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • ¼ cup of barley
  • ½ cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one-fourth cup of barley to half a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil and simmer it until the water reduces to a quarter.
  3. Strain the barley and keep the water aside.
  4. Once the solution cools down a bit, drink the mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this mixture 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Barley is a rich source of nutrients like selenium and magnesium. These nutrients exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory activities that are quite effective in reducing inflammation associated with optic neuritis (8).

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5. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to a tub filled with water.
  2. Soak in the Epsom bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily for a few weeks.

Why This Works

One of the main constituents of Epsom salt is magnesium. Magnesium reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body (9).

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protip_icon Quick Tip
Avoid using soap after the bath as it could inhibit the salt’s effects. Also, take an Epsom salt bath just before bed so you can rest for at least two hours following the bath.

6. Cold Compress

Cold compress for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

A cold compress

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply a cold compress to the affected eye.
  2. Leave it on for a few minutes and remove.
  3. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Cold compresses help reduce inflammation and offer pain relief in the affected eye. This is because cold compresses have numbing and anti-inflammatory effects that can help manage the pain and reduce swelling of the optic nerve (10).

Back To TOC

protip_icon Quick Tip
Avoid using chemical cooling packs on your eyes. They might harm the eyes if the chemicals leak.

7. Green Tea

Green tea for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • ½ teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add half a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  3. Drink the green tea.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink green tea twice daily for optimum benefits.

Why This Works

Green tea is full of beneficial polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help treat inflammatory diseases like optic neuritis (11).

Back To TOC

8. Yogurt

Yogurt for optic neuritis
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

1 bowl of plain yogurt

What You Have To Do

Consume a bowl of plain yogurt.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once every other day.

Why This Works

Yogurt is a rich source of many nutrients like vitamin b12, calcium, and potassium that can help alleviate the symptoms of optic neuritis and its inflammatory symptoms (12).

Caution

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy, avoid yogurt made from cow’s milk.

9. Carrot And Spinach Juice

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/healthy-green-spinach-carrot-smoothie-glass-292402979
Image Alt text – Carrot and spinach juice for optic neuritis

You Will Need

  • 2 large carrots
  • A handful of fresh spinach leaves

What You Have To Do

  1. Wash and peel the carrots and chop them into small pieces.
  2. Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and spinach to a blender.
  4. Blend until you get a smooth juice.
  5. Strain the juice to remove any pulp.
  6. Consume the fresh carrot and spinach juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

Why This Works

Spinach and carrots contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that may protect your eyes by absorbing the harmful blue light and improve visual acuity (13), (14). The vitamin A content in both vegetables may also help mitigate optic nerve damage from optic neuritis (15), (16)

Optic neuritis is an inflammatory condition and what you eat also plays a major role in your recovery. For better effectiveness of the home remedies, follow the diet tips discussed below.

Best Diet For Optic Neuritis

If you have been suffering from optic neuritis, you should try and stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. When possible, aim for organic produce and free-range grass-fed animal products.

What To Eat
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Soybean
  • Avocados

You should also avoid certain foods to allow your treatment options to work better.

What Not To Eat
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Noodles
  • Cereals

In short, a gluten-free diet or one that is as low as possible in refined sugars and genetically modified grains is appropriate to speed your recovery from optic neuritis.

There are also lifestyle changes you can make to prevent your optic nerve from becoming inflamed in the future.

Prevention Tips

  • Follow a diet rich in nutritional foods and avoid foods that are pro-inflammatory.
  • Protect your eyes from injuries during sports and other activities by wearing protective gear.
  • Visit your ophthalmologist regularly to prevent worsening of your symptoms.

Infographic: Natural Remedies For Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis affects very few individuals. It causes severe pain and discomfort and may even lead to sudden blindness or temporary vision loss. While this condition requires medical care, there are some natural remedies you can try at home for pain relief. Check out the infographic below for more information.

natural remedies for optic neuritis (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Optic neurosis is characterized by an inflammation of the optic nerve and major accompanying symptoms like temporary vision loss in one eye, inability to detect colors properly, and extreme pain around the affected eye. While the exact cause of optic neurosis remains unclear, certain infections or health conditions may lead to its onset. In rare cases, there may be complications, so it is important to work with your healthcare provider as you manage this condition. Certain home remedies for optic neurosis, like vitamin supplements or dietary vitamin intake, green tea, cold compress, yogurt, barley, and essentials oils, may facilitate recovery when used alongside your prescribed treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does optic neuritis last?

Symptoms of optic neuritis usually improve in about three months. However, some individuals may take longer, say 12 months, to show complete improvement.

Is optic neuritis permanent?

There is an 85% chance for those suffering from optic neuritis to permanently damage their optic nerve. But optic neuritis in itself is not permanent and usually resolves in 4 to 12 weeks. However, some people may experience relapse and would have to consult the doctor for relapse prevention.

Can glasses help optic neuritis?

Glasses cannot help with symptoms of color blindness or any other symptoms associated with optic neuritis but can help with blurry vision.

How do you know if your optic nerve is damaged?

If your vision has become relatively decreased all of a sudden and if it is also accompanied by pain around your eyes, there is a high chance that you may have damaged your optic nerve.

Can stress cause optic neuritis?

Yes, the imbalance in the autonomous neuronal system and the dysregulation of the vascular system caused by ongoing stress and elevated cortisol levels may increase the risk of optic neuritis (11). You can always speak to your doctor or go to a support group to help you cope with stress and this condition.

Does optic neuritis always lead to MS?

While optic neuritis does not lead to MS (a chronic disease that damages the optic nerve and the nerves in your brain and spinal cord), it can be a predictive indicator. Optic neuritis arises when the immune system destroys the myelin coating that shields the healthy, protective optic nerve in those with or without multiple sclerosisi  A chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). . According to a study, in 15–20% of MS patients, optic neuritis was the initial symptom of the disease (12).

Can Covid affect the optic nerve?

Possibly. The COVID-19 infection may cause unilateral or bilateral optic neuritis (17).

Key Takeaways

  • Optic neuritis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the eye, which causes eye pain and mild vision loss.
  • Infections, multiple sclerosis, and exposure to chemicals can cause this condition.
  • Using a warm compress, vitamin B12 supplements, and drinking turmeric tea may help manage the inflammation and pain.
  • You can consume fatty fish and citrus fruits to help prevent optic neuritis.


If you are experiencing blurred vision, eye pain, or color vision changes, you might be dealing with optic neuritis. Learn about its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options in this informative video.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Recurrent Optic Neuritis as the Initial Symptom in Demyelinating Diseases” Journal of Clinical Neurology, Synapse.
  2. Optic neuritis and vitamin C” Journal of Japanese Ophthalmological Society, US National Library of Medicine
  3. Optic neuropathy in a patient with vitamin B12 deficiency: a case report” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, US National Library of Medicine
  4. A prospective cohort study of vitamin D in optic neuritis recovery” Multiple Sclerosis Journal, US National Library of Medicine
  5. Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil” Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  6. The anti-inflammatory activity of L-menthol compared to mint oil in human monocytes in vitro: a novel perspective for its therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases” European Journal of Medical Research, US National Library of Medicine
  7. Soy Food Intake and Circulating Levels of Inflammatory Markers in Chinese Women” The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, US National Library of Medicine
  8. Multiple pathways are responsible for Anti-inflammatory and Cardiovascular activities of Hordeum vulgare L” Journal of Translational Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  9. Magnesium Decreases Inflammatory Cytokine Production: A Novel Innate Immunomodulatory Mechanism” The Journal of Immunology, US National Library of Medicine
  10. Cryotherapy Reduces Inflammatory Response Without Altering Muscle Regeneration Process and Extracellular Matrix Remodeling of Rat Muscle” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine.
  11. Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in mice” Acta Cirurgica Brasileira, US National Library of Medicine
  12. Anti-inflammatory effect of yoghurt in an experimental inflammatory bowel disease in mouse” The Journal of Dairy Research, US National Library of Medicine
  13. Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health” Nutrients Journal, US National Library of Medicine.
  14. Nutrients for the aging eye” Clinical Interventions in Aging, US National Library of Medicine.
  15. Spinach or carrots can supply significant amounts of vitamin A as assessed by feeding with intrinsically deuterated vegetables” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ResearchGate.
  16. Effect of vitamin A on recovery from the acute phase of multiple sclerosis-related optic neuritis, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial” Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  17. Optic neuritis post-COVID-19 infection. A case report with meta-analysis.” Interdisciplinary Neurosurgery, US National Library of Medicine.
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Caroline C. Duncan graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in May of 2017, where her interests were primarily psychiatric, neurologic, and pharmacologic in nature. She served on the editorial board for the school’s literary and artistic publication Humanitas and was editor-in-chief in her fourth and final year. She's a native of the Carolinas and earned an A.B. degree...read full bio

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