Insight Into Optic Nerve Atrophy - Cell Therapy And Optic Nerve Atrophy
Villa Medica

Insight Into Optic Nerve Atrophy

Cell Therapy And Optic Nerve Atrophy

Optic nerve atrophy (ONA) or optic atrophy or optic neuropathy is an eye disease characterised by the damage of optic nerves. Damage to the optic nerves adversely affect central vision, peripheral vision and colour vision When optic nerves are damaged brain doesn’t collect all of the visual information of image which subsequently results in blurred vision or causes permanent and potentially severe loss of eye vision.

Understanding Optic Atrophy Type 1

Initially, the condition that usually begins in childhood with a slow progressive worsening of the vision is categorised as Optic atrophy type 1. Patients with this condition typically experience tunnel vision, a narrowing of the field of vision and gradually losing the sight as the vision field reduces. In addition, Optic atrophy type 1 causes color vision deficiency as well, making it difficult to distinguish between shades of blue and green. Both eyes are equally affected, but the severity of the deterioration varies widely, even among affected members of the same family, ranging from nearly normal vision to complete blindness.

Optic atrophy type 1 is estimated to affect 1 in 35,000 people worldwide. This condition is more common in Denmark, where it affects approximately 1 in 10,000 people.

Villa Medica - Insight Into Optic Nerve Atrophy - Statistics Infographic

Optic Nerve Atrophy (ONA) – Statistics: Optic Nerve Atrophy Type 1 is estimated to affect 1 in 35,000 people worldwide. This condition is more common in Denmark, where it affects approximately 1 in 10,000 people.

Glaucoma, optic neuritis and anterior ischemic optic neuropathy are considered major root causes, which are responsible for optic nerve injury of the eye. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve by increasing intraocular pressure on the eyeball (Glaucomatous ONA) while optic neuritis results from the inflammation of the optic nerve.

Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy or commonly known as “stroke of the optic nerve” is another major cause for optic nerve damage characterised by sudden loss of blood supply and nutrients to the optic nerves. This causes sudden vision loss, which mostly occurs in the morning, faded colors, pupils less reactive to light.

Generally, the most common optic nerve atrophy symptoms refer to changes in the vision, specifically blurred vision, peripheral vision difficulties, color vision difficulties and reduced in the sharpness of the overall vision.

Treatment Options for Optic Nerve Atrophy

Optic Nerve Atrophy damage is non treatable presently, although symptom can be treated according to root cause of injury or pathological disease causing the condition.
Clinical therapies, which could restore lost eye vision such as neuroprotective or exogenic therapies in retinal degenerative diseases are not in existence yet. Translatable techniques like retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and photoreceptors for eye lost replacement are on primary stage of their advancement.

Villa Medica - Cell Therapy Explained - Infographic

Cell Therapy is an old treatment modality which involves implantation of living cells for treatment of diseases.

Recently, for the replacement of lost neurons or for regaining and restoring neural circuits cell therapies are being extensively explored as clinical treatments for degenerative eye disease.

A recent study evidenced that cell-derived trophic factors prevents compromised endogenous retinal neurons from death and helps in the induction of the growth of new connections. As in any degenerative condition, early diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes of optic atrophy can help prevent further damage from the disease.

Live Cell Therapy is Natural, Safe And Effective

Cell therapy provides a much needed treatment option and alternative to better manage Optic Nerve Atrophy. Although at its infancy stage, it still delivers a promising strategy to an otherwise untreatable condition.

What is Optic Nerve Atrophy?

Optic nerve transmits visual image from retina of the eye to the brain. Optic nerve (cranial nerve II) is part of central nervous system and composed of retinal ganglion cell axons and glial cells. Optic nerve contains nerve fibers, which carry part of the visual image information from retina to the brain.

Villa Medica - Optic Nerve Atrophy (ONA) Fact Sheet Infographic

Optic Nerve Atrophy (ONA) is a non-specific finding related to damage to the optic nerve. Clinical features of optic atrophy including : presence of relative afferent pupillary defect (RAPD) if there is asymetry in the neuropathy; visual field defect.

Optic nerve functions as a medium for the transmission of visual information of image, its brightness perception, color perception and contrast. Optic Nerve Atrophy is characterised by mild to severe optic nerve damage adversely affecting central vision, peripheral vision and colour vision.

Pathological Mechanisms

Many pathological mechanisms are known that can cause retinal ganglion cell loss leading to Optic Nerve Atrophy. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is the most common cause of ONA in children.

Optic nerve injury is the end result of diseases which results in damaged nerve cells such as Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, glaucoma (Glaucomatous ONA), trauma, poor blood flow or ischemia (ischemic optic neuropathy), toxicity, inflammation, infection, tumor compression, radiation therapy of brain, or by balloon like bulging in the wall of a blood vessel.

Optic Nerve Atrophy In A Nutshell

To conclude, preventing the causes of Optic Nerve Atrophy is near impossible especially once the condition begins its innate deterioration pathway. Technically, any damage to the optic nerve caused by injury or disease tends to remain permanent because the cells that form the optic nerve cannot regenerate or repair themselves on its own. This is why glaucoma and other diseases that involve optic nerve damage, such as optic neuritis and optic nerve trauma, lead to permanent vision loss.


Diseases that lead to Optic Nerve Atrophy can be treated therapeutically using drugs to relieve from symptoms.

Villa Medica - The Benefit of Live Cell Therapy

It is believed that the benefit of Live Cell Therapy is : 70% due to the direct stimulation of regeneration, and 30% due to transplantation of new cells

Cell based treatments also have potential to be useful in Optic Nerve Atrophy due to their regenerative scope. Cell therapy has promising possibilities to cope with the current need of treatment required in Optic Nerve Atrophy.

Cell based regenerative repairing of damaged optic nerves has great potential in the near future.

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Further Reading – Quality Articles From Third Party Websites

  1. [1] Optic Nerve Disorders
  2. [2] Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd
  3. [3] Indian J Ophthalmol
  4. [4] Hematology & Transfusion International Journal
  5. [5] U.S. National Library of Medicine
  6. [6] Journal of Universal College of Medical Sciences


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