Original Article|Articles in Press

Detecting seasonal trends in optic neuritis within the Ottawa region

Published:January 30, 2023DOI:



      In this study we aim to determine seasonal patterns underlying optic neuritis (ON) onset that may provide valuable epidemiologic information and help delineate causative or protective factors.


      Single-centre retrospective chart review.


      A database search of centralized electronic health records was completed using diagnostic codes employed at the Ottawa Eye Institute for data collection. Charts were reviewed for documentation supporting a diagnosis of ON falling into the following categories: multiple sclerosis ON and clinically isolated syndrome ON, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein ON, neuromyelitis optica ON, and idiopathic ON. Date of onset, biological sex, and age were extracted from each chart. Data were analyzed for calculation of frequency by season and overall pooled seasonal trends of all cases of ON.


      From the 218 included patients with ON, there was no statistically significant seasonal correlation. The overall trend of ON was lowest in winter and spring (22% and 23%, respectively) and highest in summer and fall (28% and 27% respective). Divided further, multiple sclerosis ON or clinically isolated syndrome ON rates (n = 144) were lowest in the spring (21%) and highest in fall (29%); myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein ON rates (n = 25) were lowest in winter (16%) and highest in summer and fall (both at 32%); neuromyelitis optica ON rates (n = 16) were lowest in fall (12.5%) and highest in winter and summer (both at 31.25%); and idiopathic ON rates (n = 33) were lowest in fall (18%) and highest in spring (33%).


      The overall ON seasonal trend appears to have a predilection for the summer and fall months, which may be explained by warmer weather and viral infections as risk factors for multiple sclerosis relapse during those seasons.
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