Multiple sclerosis is medically classified as an autoimmune disease. Individuals stricken with MS are often subject to a variety of adverse health side effects including stiffness, loss of coordination and movement, blurred vision and problems with incontinence. Oftentimes, due to the varied and unpredictable side effects of the disease, individuals who suffer from MS are unable to work and many qualify for social security disability benefits.
While medical researchers have made some progress in understanding MS, the cause of the debilitating disease is still largely unknown. Researchers believe the onset of the disease is most likely triggered by a gene, virus or some sort of environmental exposure. What’s more, there is no known cure for MS so researchers have focused more on finding ways to improve early diagnosis of the disease and treat symptoms.
Early detection and diagnosis of MS is important as patients tend to respond better to treatment and therapies while the disease is in its early stages. The key is to diagnose and begin treating a patient before extensive damage is done to an individual’s nerve cells.
The body’s nerve cells are covered by a protective coating know as myelin. In individuals who suffer from MS, the immune system begins to attack its own healthy cells thereby damaging the myelin sheath of nerve cells. When nerve cells sustain damage inflammation occurs which can lead to extensive damage throughout an individual’s body.
Previously doctors relied upon magnetic resonance imaging to help detect signs consistent with MS. A new and far less invasive technique called optical coherence tomography, however, is believed to be a more economical and effective method in detecting MS.
OCT is used to take a scan of an individual’s optic nerve. Information obtained via an OCT can help doctors determine whether a patient has MS, thereby enabling doctors to begin aggressively treating the disease to prevent further damage from occurring.
Source: The Inquisitr, “The Progress Of Multiple Sclerosis Can Be Detected Using A Simple Eye Exam,” Megan Charles, Dec. 30, 2012