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Sight problems

Meningitis can cause sight problems which may be permanent or temporary

Hannah S bacterial meningitis case study

Meningitis can affect both vision and visual perception.

Vision is the ability to see and visual perception is the ability to understand what is seen. The optic nerve carries visual signals to the brain. Meningitis can cause damage to this nerve resulting in loss of vision and changes in visual perception.

Some people experience temporary visual changes after meningitis. These can be caused by increased pressure on the optic nerve. Once the pressure reduces vision and visual perception may return to normal.

If the optic nerve is damaged, any visual changes or sight loss are likely to be permanent

If you are experiencing visual changes after meningitis, ask your GP for a referral to an ophthalmologist for further investigation and support.

We can help

Visual changes and sight loss can cause major changes in lifestyle for the individual affected, and their family and friends. For support and information, please contact our helpline.

Other organisations that can help

The Royal Society for Blind Children

Offers a range of services including emotional support and practical advice for families, opportunities for children and young people to build confidence and skills through activities, and a specialist further education college.


Royal National Institute of Blind People

Offers support, information and advice to those with sight loss.


Affected by sight problems after meningitis?

Call our nurse-led helpline

Call our helpline 0808 80 10 388 or email helpline@meningitisnow.org