Adult Optic Neuritis Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Aug 12, 2022
  • Author: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Edsel B Ing, MD, PhD, MBA, MEd, MPH, MA, FRCSC  more...
  • Print

Diagnostic Considerations

Conditions to consider in the differential diagnosis of optic neuritis (ON) include the following:

  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • Ischemic optic neuropathy (anterior or posterior)
  • Hereditary optic neuropathies
  • Nutritional optic neuropathies
  • Infectious ON from Lyme disease, syphilis, tuberculosis, or brucellosis
  • Optic nerve compression caused by a tumor or trauma
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener granulomatosis)
  • Necrotizing herpetic retinopathy in persons who are immunocompromised
  • Central serous retinopathy
  • Central retinal artery occlusion or branch retinal artery occlusion
  • Herpes simplex
  • Functional vision loss

Differential Diagnoses