Symptoms of optic nerve disorders include pain behind the eyeball that is exacerbated by eye movement, flashing lights, and loss of vision and color vision, states Mayo Clinic. The loss of regular vision is made worse by taking a hot bath or exercise, and colors appear less intense than usual. Other symptoms are blind spots and blurring and distorted vision, according to All About Vision.
Optic neuritis, or an inflammation of the optic nerve, occurs more often in women and in people younger than 45, claims All About Vision. It is one symptom of an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis. In the case of optic neuritis, the patient's immune system attacks the myelin sheathing that protects her optic nerve.
Other causes of optic nerve disorders include toxins, infections (including viral infections), ocular herpes and other neurological conditions, according to All About Vision. People who are malnourished or suffer from sinusitis are also subject to the condition, as are people who have Leber hereditary optic neuropathy. This is an inherited disease that leads to vision loss. Unlike optic neuritis, it mostly affects young men.
People with optic nerve disorders are placed in trials called the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trials, states All About Vision. In these trials, the patients receive three days of intravenous steroids followed by 11 days of steroids taken orally.