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Home » Low Vision Eye Diseases » Optic Atrophy

Optic Atrophy - Optic Nerve Damage

Your IALVS eye doctor can optimize your remaining vision!

senior man in thought2Optic atrophy occurs as a result of damage to the optic nerve, which conveys impulses from the eye to the brain. This condition leads to a loss of central and/or peripheral vision.

If you suffer vision loss from optic atrophy, IALVS eye doctors will assess your remaining vision to help maximize it to enhance your independence. We will fit you with the most suitable low vision aids to restore your ability to do the tasks you want to do.

We provide personalized low vision rehabilitation

Our IALVS eye doctors are knowledgeable and specially trained in the latest low vision technologies - optics and computerized devices. To fit you with the most helpful aid, we will perform a thorough eye exam to detect your precise level of vision loss from optic atrophy. We will also discuss your lifestyle, daily activities, and favorite hobbies; these personal details are essential to designing an individualized low vision rehabilitation plan for your unique needs.

Some low vision devices that can help include:

  • Monocular handheld telescopes for distance vision, in the lens powers that you need
  • Photochromatics or dark sunglasses to reduce glare
  • Magnifiers, handheld and mounted, for reading or viewing detailed work
  • Mounted reading stands (non-optical) can also be helpful for when you want to do tasks that need near vision
  • Prismatic reading glasses to expand your field of view and sharpen peripheral vision

What is optic atrophy?

Atrophy describes a condition of deterioration, and optic atrophy is when the optic nerve has deteriorated due to some type of pathology. It is not a disease – it is potentially a sign of a more serious condition.

What causes optic atrophy?

A bundle of fibers make up the optic nerve, and these fibers transmit impulses to the brain. If you have optic atrophy, something is blocking the optic nerve from transmitting these impulses. The interference can result from various factors and conditions, such as: glaucoma, optic neuritis (swelling of the optic nerve; caused by multiple sclerosis), a congenital problem in which the optic nerve does not form properly, stroke of the optic nerve, and Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (a genetic condition in which the patient loses vision in one eye, and then in the other).

What are the symptoms of optic atrophy?

The symptoms are associated with a change in vision, such as:

  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Loss of color vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Decrease in visual acuity

How does an eye doctor diagnose optic atrophy?

A comprehensive eye exam can detect optic atrophy. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes and use high-powered magnification to inspect the optic disc, which is the point at the back of your eye where the optic nerve enters. If there is optic atrophy, the optic disc will be pale because of insufficient blood flow through the blood vessels. Additional testing, such as an evaluation of your color vision and peripheral vision, may also be performed. If your eye doctor suspects that a tumor or multiple sclerosis may be the cause of optic atrophy, you may be sent for an MRI test.

What treatment for optic atrophy can an IALVS eye doctor provide?

Presently, there is no cure or effective treatment for optic atrophy. Once the nerve fibers are damaged, they cannot regenerate. However, early detection of this condition can help prevent further damage from the disease that caused optic atrophy.

If you suffer vision loss as a result of optic atrophy, an IALVS will evaluate your remaining eyesight in order to recommend the most helpful low vision devices and strategies to help optimize your vision and quality of life. Our experts regularly attend advanced seminars and training sessions to stay current with the latest optics and computerized devices for low vision rehabilitation.

We will match you with the aids and strategies that are most helpful for your lifestyle and remaining eyesight. Also, because optic atrophy can worsen, we will perform regular eye exams to ensure that you are getting the most out of your low vision aids, and we’ll recommend changes if needed.

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