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Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2012 Feb;14(1):93-102. doi: 10.1007/s11940-011-0159-0.

Treatment of pediatric optic neuritis.

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Eye and Ear Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA,


Pediatric optic neuritis is a rare disorder causing a subacute loss of vision (often bilateral) in children, often of a severe degree. Common clinical findings include dense visual field loss, afferent pupillary defect (APD) in unilateral cases, and papillitis that is often bilateral. Contrary to optic neuritis in the adult population, the differential diagnosis for this disorder in pediatric patients is quite extensive, so neuroimaging and serologic evaluation are necessary to exclude an infectious or neoplastic process. Pediatric optic neuritis may occur as a clinically isolated syndrome, or in association with diffuse neurologic dysfunction, such as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Optic neuritis may also be the first episode heralding the onset of pediatric multiple sclerosis or neuromyelitis optica (NMO or Devic's disease). Therefore, formal neurologic evaluation and follow-up are indicated. Although the management of this disorder in adults is well described, there is a paucity of evidence-based, prospective clinical data on its management and treatment in a pediatric population. The current treatment of pediatric optic neuritis consists of 3 to 5 days of intravenous methylprednisolone (4-30 mg/kg per day), followed by a prolonged oral corticosteroid taper. A prolonged course of oral steroid (2-4 weeks) is recommended to avoid recurrence, which is common in this age group. Some controversy persists concerning the exposure of children to high-dose parenteral corticosteroids to treat an entity that is usually self-limited, but given the severity of vision loss in one or both eyes in this population, this intervention is standard in neuro-ophthalmologic practice.


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