Uhthoff’s Phenomenon: Understanding Overheating

Some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel their symptoms worsen when they become overheated. When elevated body temperature impairs vision, it’s called Uhthoff’s phenomenon.

Uhthoff’s occurs because of damage to the optic nerve due to MS. It interferes with the transmission of signals between the eyes and the brain. Symptoms include blurry or reduced vision, and it’s often one of the first symptoms of MS.

Uhthoff’s phenomenon is sometimes called “Uhthoff’s syndrome” or “Uhthoff’s sign.” The condition was named for Wilhelm Uhthoff, a German professor of ophthalmology who lived from 1853 to 1927.

Consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Your doctor can help you create a plan that fits your capabilities and lifestyle.


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