MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Overview of Optic Nerve Disorders

By

James Garrity

, MD, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science

Last full review/revision Oct 2021| Content last modified Nov 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

The small photoreceptor cells of the retina (the inner surface at the back of the eye) sense light and transmit impulses to the optic nerve. The optic nerve from each eye carries impulses to the brain, where visual information is interpreted.

Damage to an optic nerve or damage to its pathways to the brain results in loss of vision. At a structure in the brain called the optic chiasm, each optic nerve splits, and half of its fibers cross over to the other side. Because of this anatomic arrangement, damage along the optic nerve pathway causes specific patterns of vision loss. By understanding the pattern of vision loss, a doctor can often determine where the problem is in the pathway.

Visual Pathways and the Consequences of Damage

Nerve signals travel along the optic nerve from each eye. The two optic nerves meet at the optic chiasm. There, the optic nerve from each eye divides, and half of the nerve fibers from each side cross to the other side. Because of this arrangement, the right side of the brain receives information from the left visual field of both eyes, and the left side of the brain receives information from the right visual field of both eyes. Damage to an eye or the visual pathway causes different types of vision loss depending on where the damage occurs.

Visual Pathways and the Consequences of Damage
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Eye Redness
Eye redness is a condition in which the part of the eye that is normally white appears reddish. This occurs when blood vessels on the surface of the eye widen (dilate), bringing extra blood to the eye. Which of the following is NOT a frequent cause of eye redness? 
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP