Acute demyelinating optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve often associated with multiple sclerosis. It results in decreased vision and ability to see color, as well as pain with eye movement.
The established treatment, steroid medication delivered through an IV, has been shown to help speed recovery somewhat, but it appears to do nothing to improve long-term visual outcomes. It also has potential risks, including medication side effects, and the inconvenience, cost and discomfort of injections. Despite this lackluster reward/risk tradeoff, providers treat nearly every patient with intensive steroid therapy.
“We’re working to help providers move away from this one-size-fits-all approach, toward more nuanced decision making,” says Kellogg assistant professor Lindsey De Lott, M.D., M.S. Her research has two aims: understand current provider perceptions about the efficacy and risks of steroid treatment, and design a decision-making tool that helps direct the right treatment to the right patient.
Dr. De Lott’s project, supported by a Mentored Patient- Oriented Research Career Development (K23) award, draws on her expertise in both neuro-ophthalmology and health services research, and reflects her commitment—and the NIH/NEI mission—to advance personalized medicine in the treatment of ocular diseases.