Neuritis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation in a nerve or a portion of the nervous system. There are two primary types: optic and peripheral.
Optic neuritis, which is also referred to as retrobulbar neuritis, is generally caused by viral or bacterial infections. As the name implies, it's an inflammation of the optic nerve. It can cause an individual to experience partial or complete loss of vision. This is usually either because the inflammation destroys the myelin sheath, the insulating layer that covers the nerve, or because the axons of the nerve are damaged from the swelling.
A person afflicted with this condition often feels pain when attempting to move the eye. In addition, he or she often has difficulty identifying colors with the affected eye, though he or she may not realize it until covering the healthy eye.
Most patients with optic neuritis experience a return of normal vision after the infection causing the disorder has cleared up, but this often takes eight to ten weeks to occur. In some cases, the condition leads to permanent damage and loss of vision. To reduce the chances of the damage being permanent, it is important for the person experiencing this form of neuritis to receive prompt medical attention.
With peripheral neuritis, also referred to as peripheral neuropathy, damage occurs to a nerve within the peripheral nervous system. Ot can be caused by disease or illness, but is not typically caused directly by bacteria or viruses. Instead, afflictions such as AIDS, diabetes, seizures, alcoholism, and nutritional deficiencies are common causes. A person may also experience inflammation from pressure placed on the nerve due to remaining in one position for too long.
Individuals with peripheral neuritis commonly experience tremors, numbness, and an unsteadiness when walking. The sufferer might also feel tired and weak, experience cramps, or have a general feeling of heaviness. In addition, he or she may feel itching, tingling, and pain in the affected nerves. In some cases, the pain can become so severe that the patient needs to use potent drugs to relieve it.