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Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the salivary glands below the ears and results in a tender swelling on one or both cheeks and the jaw. Mumps usually starts with fever-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and fever, which lasts for a few days. However, this disease can affect one’s eyesight and vision even though its major effect is on the salivary glands (which is within the mouth). Mumps can cause a condition called optic neuritis.

Optic neuritis occurs when inflammation around the face results in swelling and then damages the nerves (also known as optic nerves) that carry visual information between the eyes and the brain. This automatically affects the eyes and visual field of the affected individual and they will experience symptoms such as:

Eye pain 

Which gets worsened by eye movement, such as blinking and rolling the eyes. The pains might also have a dull feeling and occur behind the affected eye.

Loss of vision in one eye

This could happen within a couple of hours to some days and its severity varies among individuals. While most people experience temporary vision loss, which would be restored within a couple of weeks, some people experience permanent vision loss (blindness).

Loss of colour vision (colour blindness)

This condition can also affect how an individual sees and identifies colours. The appearance of colours is less vivid than what they would have been normally.

Flashing lights

Individuals affected with optic neuritis will most likely experience a feeling/sensation of flashing in their eyes when they engage in eye movement.

To ensure that your eyes remain healthy despite being affected with mumps, we strongly advise that you do not ignore any of the above-listed symptoms. Report immediately to your eye doctor so that necessary treatment can be given alongside post-treatment follow-up/checkup. Also, if you don’t have mumps and you are experiencing any of these symptoms, inform your doctor about it so that tests can be carried out to detect and treat any other possible underlying eye disease quickly before it gets worse.