Multiple sclerosis is a condition where the myelin that covers your nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain are damaged. It is an inflammatory disease that attacks the axons that are myelinated leading to the destruction of both myelin and axon. This causes significant physical disability in more than 30% of patients within 20 to 25 years of the onset of the disease. Disability occurs as the damage disrupts the ability of the nervous system to communicate, leading to a range of issues such as physical, mental, and even psychiatric problems. Multiple sclerosis can have several forms with patients experiencing new symptoms during separate attacks (relapse) or throughout the disease progression. Between attacks, the patient may not have symptoms but effects of the disease, such as permanent neurological issues, remain. While the cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown, experts believe that it could be due to the destruction of the immune system or when there is a failure of the cells that produce myelin.
It has been proposed that environmental factors such as viral infection and genetics could be the trigger for the disease. Diagnosis is achieved based on the patient’s signs and symptoms and supporting laboratory tests. Currently, there is no cure for the condition but treatment and management aim to control the progression and improve function of the patient suffering from multiple sclerosis. It can include the use of medication and physical therapy. It is the commonest immune-mediated disorder that affects the central nervous system. In 2015, 2.3 million individuals were affected globally resulting in 18,900 deaths. It is more common among women compared to men and typically begins between the ages of 20 to 50 years old.
Symptom #1: Double Vision
Double vision, or medically known as diplopia refers to the perception of two identical images that may seem as if they are displaced horizontally, diagonally, or vertically. It usually occurs when there is an impairment of the extraocular muscles where both eyes are functional but are not directed at the same angle resulting in a disparity of the image shown.
Diplopia can be serious as it can lead to disruption of balance, movement, and other daily routine activities. It can cause accidents, falls, and injuries to the affected person.