Optic Nerve Atrophy

The optic nerve is a set of nerve fibres that carry information of what the eye perceives to the brain for conversion into images. Optic nerve atrophy is a condition in which a few or most of the optic nerve fibres are lost causing disruption of information sent to the brain. It is characterised by blurred vision, decreased perception to brightness, abnormal side and colour vision.

Optic nerve atrophy may be caused due to the underdevelopment or inflammation of the optic nerve, glaucoma, poisoning, vitamin deficiencies or tumours.

Optic nerve atrophy can be diagnosed by assessing your colour vision, side vision and pupil’s reaction to light. Your doctor uses an ophthalmoscope to determine the loss of optic nerve fibres. MRI scans can also be used to confirm the diagnosis. Optic nerve atrophy cannot be treated as the nerve fibres that are lost cannot be healed. However, if the underlying cause for the condition is determined early and treated, further damage to the optic nerves can be controlled.