Color perception impairment following optic neuritis and its association with retinal atrophy

Netta Levin*, Michael Devereux, Atira Bick, Nick Baker, Ari Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Emphasis is often placed on the good recovery of vision following optic neuritis (ON). However, patients continue to perceive difficulties in performing everyday visual tasks and have reduced visual quality of life. This is in addition to documented permanent loss of retinal volume. Methods: Seventy-five subjects following monocular ON (> 3 months prior to assessment), were evaluated by the Rabin cone contrast test (CCT). Red, green and blue cone contrast scores were extracted for the affected and fellow eyes. Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular volume (MV) were assessed using optical coherence tomography. Results: Fifty-seven patients had multiple sclerosis and 17 had clinically isolated syndrome. Median time from ON to evaluation was 47 months. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) ranged between 0 and 6.5 with average of 2 ± 1.3. Cone contrast scores for red, green and blue in the affected eyes were significantly lower than in the fellow eyes. RNFL thickness and MV were reduced in the affected compared to the fellow eyes. Positive correlations between CCT and RNFL were found in both eyes, but much stronger in the affected eyes (r = 0.72, 0.74, 0.5 and 0.53, 0.58, 0.46 for red green and blue in each eye, respectively). Positive correlations between CCT and MV were found in both eyes, but only modestly stronger in the affected eyes. Conclusions: Impaired chromatic discrimination thresholds quantitatively document persistent functional complaints after ON. There is evidence of dysfunction in both the affected eye and the fellow eye.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1160-1166
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Color perception
  • Macular volume
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • OCT
  • Optic neuritis
  • Retinal nerve fiber layer


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