Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve which can cause severe pressure, pain and headaches and may result in the destruction of the protective myelin sheath that covers the optic nerve. These conditions are usually the result of an autoimmune reaction or disorder in which the body mistakes its own oligodendrocytes for a pathogen and essentially attacks them.
Any time the myelin sheath has been destroyed or severely compromised, the nerve is susceptible to direct damage. Optic neuropathy is a general term used to describe any conditions that result in damage to the optic nerve. Symptoms would include blurred vision in only one eye, double vision, difficulty in coordination and fatigue. Benign tumors can also form in the optic nerve sheath and cause these side effects. Tumor growth may compress the optic nerve and cause loss of vision in the affected eye.
Research has been conducted for many years to develop techniques for detecting these issues early on and repairing the myelin sheaths. One option to patients might be the surgical implanting of oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Other times, the condition is so progressed or acute that there may not be a cure, only medications and treatments to deal with pain or slow the condition's progress.