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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2001 Jun;59(2-B):311-7.

The clinical profile of childhood optic neuritis.

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Department of Neuro-Ophthalmology, Hospital São Geraldo, Federal University of Minas Gerais Medical School, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.



To report the clinical features and outcome of a series of children with optic neuritis.


We reviewed the medical records of patients up to 16 years old with optic neuritis. Group 1 comprised children seen up to two weeks after the onset of visual loss; Group 2 comprised patients already harboring optic atrophy.


There were 15 boys and 12 girls. The mean age was 10.9 years. Bilateral optic neuritis occurred in 10. Optic disc pallor was found in 35%, edema in 46%, and 19% had normal fundus. During follow-up visual acuity improved in all but one eye in Group 1, and in six of seven eyes in children in Group 2. Just one child converted to multiple sclerosis.


This study shows that the clinical features of childhood optic neuritis differ from those observed in adults. In children it has a better visual outcome and a lower conversion rate to multiple sclerosis than in adults.

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