Glaucoma and Optic Atrophy

Summary: Glaucoma usually develops slowly and sometimes without any notable sight loss over many years. Symptoms of optic atrophy include changes in the optic disc and decrease in visual function.

Glaucoma affects over three million Americans. When the drainage canals in the eye become clogged, the pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP), rises as fluid can’t drain out of the eye.

Most people have no symptoms and no warning signs. If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can cause a gradual loss of vision. Glaucoma usually develops slowly and sometimes without any notable sight loss over many years.

Optic atrophy is damage to the optic nerve that causes degeneration or destruction of the optic nerve. Optic atrophy, also known as optic nerve head pallor, due to the pale appearance of the optic nerve head seen in the back of the eye.

Symptoms of optic atrophy include changes in the optic disc and decrease in visual function. Change in visual function can include decrease in sharpness and clarity of vision (visual acuity) or decrease in side (peripheral) vision. Sometimes color vision and contrast sensitivity are also affected.

Some possible causes of optic atrophy are optic neuritis, Leber’s hereditary optic atrophy, toxic or nutritional optic neuropathy, glaucoma, vascular disorders, trauma, and other systemic disorders.

The following links may provide you with more information regarding glaucoma and optic atrophy and how you can help us find a cure. Click on the names of the diseases above to visit the webpages.

The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders authored and edited by Dr. Victor A. McKusick and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere, and developed for the World Wide Web by NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information.