Any damage to the optic nerve fibers causes its atrophy, i.e., degeneration of nerve fibers and their myelin sheaths. The causative agent can act on the optic nerve in any part of its neurons, that is – from the retina to corpus geniculatum laterale.
Signs of optic atrophy are reduced visual acuity and disturbances in the visual field. On the eye background it is evident in the beginning by paleness of the temporal part of the optic disc, and later the entire disk becomes porcelain white.
Atrophy can be primary or secondary.
Primary optic nerve atrophy is inherited, can occur at birth or during childhood.
Secondary atrophy can be caused by very many factors: vascular, inflammatory, toxic, compression, trauma. Therefore, we will enumerate only the most important:
glaucoma, pituitary tumors, optic neuritis, ischemic optic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis.
In congenital atrophy there is no possibility of treatment. In secondary atrophy the cause should be detected and treated.