Testing & Diagnosis for Optic Neuritis (ON) in Children

Tests to diagnose optic neuritis

How is ON diagnosed?

There’s no specific test used to diagnose ON, but there are several exams and tests your doctors may choose to look at, including:

  • your child's medical history
  • a neurological examination
  • a brain MRI scan to look for swelling in the optic nerve
  • a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to make sure that there is not an infection in the spinal fluid, such as meningitis or encephalitis, and to measure the pressure in the spinal fluid
  • blood tests to look for infectious triggers and for other conditions that can be confused with ON
  • special eye tests of side vision (called visual fields) and the electrical function of the optic nerve (called visual evoked potentials), performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist)

In order to perform the testing and undergo treatment (see Treatment tab), children with ON are usually hospitalized for a week.