A Decision Management Plan for Optic Neuritis

Dr Celia Chen

Flinders University

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Fellowship | 2009 | Investigator Led Research |


Dr Celia Chen is an eye specialist with an interest in optic neuritis (ON) that is often an early symptom of MS. ON is an acute inflammation of the optic nerve resulting in painful vision loss.

Despite the evidence in treatment of acute optic neuritis, there is a gap to the best treatment based on current scientific evidence being administered in acute ON. Many people suffering acute ON do not receive the correct treatment or receive treatment in the incorrect expectation of improving final vision.

As such, the patient is the first step and promoting patient awareness of the symptoms of ON and management options available is the key.

Dr Chen will develop a shared decision management plan for the management of acute ON. This will involve a series of direct lectures, forum discussions and question & answer sessions with patients and the MS nurses.

Progress to Date

Dr Chen successfully completed her NCIS-MSRA Betty Cuthbert Fellowship at the end of 2010, with an excellent outcome for people with MS and their health care providers.

Dr Chen designed and implemented a management plan for patients experiencing optic neuritis. Prior to the project, people newly diagnosed with MS in South Australia and the Northern Territory were found to have no management plan in place for treatment decisions following onset of optic neuritis. Following the implementation phase, 48% of people in the study had developed a management plan with their preferred healthcare provider and 98% of those had opted to under-go evidence based treatment for the condition.

Several publications in the medical literature have resulted from this work (see below) and highlight that the personal preferences of People with MS play an integral role in the management of their disease. The finding that significant increases in the likelihood of patients engaging in best practice can be achieved with an information session is very important. This research will go towards influencing services that increase patient knowledge of available treatments and outcomes.

In addition the NICS-MSRA Fellowship provided Dr Chen with invaluable leadership training and mentorship to enhance her role and influence in the field of neuro-ophthalmology. Dr Chen has disseminated her research findings through a number of presentations to colleagues both in Australia and internationally. Her continued work in this field will significantly bridge the gap between evidence and practice in the care of people with MS.

See our news article about Dr Chen’s work here.


Chu ER, Chen CS. Optic neuritis--more than a loss of vision. Aust Fam Physician. 2009;38:789-93.

Matti AI, Keane MC, McCarl H, Klaer P, Chen CS. Patients' knowledge and perception on optic neuritis management before and after an information session. BMC Ophthalmol. 2010;10:7.

Matti AI, Keane MC, McCarl H, Klaer P, Chen CS. Multiple Sclerosis - Patients’ information sources and needs on disease symptoms and management. Patient Preference and Adherence. 2010;4:157-61.

Chen CS, Matti AI, Lee AW, Chu ER. Optic Neuritis – a review of clinical presentation and management. Ophthalmology International 2011. In press. Invited review article.

Updated: 05 January, 2009

Grant Awarded

  • National Institute of Clinical Studies
  • MS Research Australia Betty Cuthbert Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $60,000


  • 2 years

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Julia Morahan

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A Decision Management Plan for Optic Neuritis