Skip to main content Skip to navigation

A to Z of MS

Click on the relevant link for more information on a topic.

A to Z of MS Visual problems

Multiple sclerosis can cause several problems that affect vision.

Optic neuritis

Optic neuritis is the most common eye problem of MS and is often the first symptom that people with MS experience. It is caused by inflammation or demyelination of the optic nerve, which transmits the image from the eye to the brain. Although optic neuritis generally tends to affect only one eye in people with MS, it can affect both eyes, this can either be both eyes at the same time, or one eye after the other. Frequently there is pain, particularly during eye movement, often accompanied with a temporary partial loss of vision.

Double vision (diplopia)

This may be an early symptom of MS. Double vision occurs when the nerve pathways that control eye movements are damaged.


This is a condition in which the eyes are seen to move in a more or less rhythmical manner, from side to side or up and down. If it is more persistent, nystagmus may contribute to dizziness or nausea.

Return to index