What is it?

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects the eyes and spinal cord. It is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the neurons. The cause for NMO is not known, but it sometimes may occur after an infection. Also, it is associated with other autoimmune conditions.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Devics disease

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of NMO include blindness, weakness or paralysis in the arms or the legs, painful spasms, loss of sensation, vomiting, hiccups, bladder or bowel dysfunction. Children who have NMO may also suffer from seizures or coma.


Diagnosis of NMO is based upon findings in medical history and physical examination, including neurological examination and ophthalmological examination. Other tests may include spinal MRI, lumbar puncture to test proteins and antibody levels in CSF, blood tests to look for NMO-IgG antibodies and MOG-IgG antibodies. A stimulus response test may be done as well as an evoked potential test.


NMO cannot be cured but a long-term remission is sometimes an option. In early stages of NMO, there is an option to reverse recent symptoms by corticosteroids and plasma exchange. For preventing future attacks, fixed lower doses of corticosteroids may be recommended and other immunosuppressive medications such as azathioprine and mycophenolate.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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