What Are the Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis?

Ask a Doctor

Multiple sclerosis runs in my family, so I want to be extra vigilant about my own health. What are the first signs of multiple sclerosis?

Doctor’s Response

The early first signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often visual changes.

  • A Large number of people with multiple sclerosis develop optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve, which is an extension of the central nervous system), described as a painful vision loss. If a patient is diagnosed with optic neuritis early, treatment could change the course of the disease.
  • Before the actual loss of vision, the patient may have visual changes described by many people as blurred or hazy vision, flashing lights, or alterations in color.
  • The tissues around the eye and moving the eye may be painful.
  • Most people recover over several months. Others are left with permanent visual defects.
  • Double vision occurs when the eyes move in different directions and is another common symptom of multiple sclerosis.

For more information, read our full medical article on multiple sclerosis.

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References
Luzzio, C., MD. "Multiple Sclerosis." Medscape. Updated Jan 27, 2016.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1146199-overview>

National Instututes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Multiple Sclerosis Information Page.
<https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/multiple-sclerosis-Information-Page>

National MS Society. "What Is MS?"
<http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS>