International Ophthalmology

, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 2477–2483 | Cite as

Plasma exchange: an effective add-on treatment of optic neuritis in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders

  • Weilin Song
  • Ya Qu
  • Xiaoyong HuangEmail author
Original Paper



To evaluate the efficiency of plasma exchange (PE) add-on on optic neuritis (ON) in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD).


Our ambispective, nonrandomized study was performed in Southwest Hospital, Southwest Eye Hospital, Army Medical University. We studied 31 consecutive NMOSD patients characterized by ON and hospitalized from September 2015 to May 2018. Their clinical features were assessed, and efficiency of PE add-on treatment in ON of NMOSD was evaluated. Correlation was assessed between the effect of steroid pulse therapy (SPT) and the number of ON episodes in NMOSD.


All 31 NMOSD patients accepted SPT; 15 patients of them accepted SPT and PE add-on. In these 15 patients, after PE add-on treatment, the patients’ visual acuity was further significantly improved (P = 0.000, N = 23), including 3 no light perception (NLP) patients. After the treatment, the visual function recovered quickly in the first 2 months and then gradually slowed down; the visual function remained stable about 6 months later. The correlation coefficient between visual acuity improvement of SPT and the number of ON episodes was − 0.311 (P = 0.030, N = 49).


One clinical feature of NMOSD can be repeated vision impairment. In NMOSD patients characterized by ON, efficacy of SPT is limited as the number of episodes increased, and PE add-on is more effective. Even though the visual acuity of NMOSD patients decreases to NLP during episodes, there is still a chance to restore vision by PE add-on treatment.


Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder Optic neuritis Steroid pulse therapy Plasma exchange 



This study was supported by Clinical Key Grants of Southwest Hospital (SWH2016ZDCX3029), Clinical Key Grants of Southwest Hospital (SWH2016YSCXYB-09) and National Natural Science Foundation (No. 31071202).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the 31 patients. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Southwest Hospital and was in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southwest Hospital, Southwest Eye HospitalArmy Medical UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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