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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What part of the eye is damaged in optic atrophy?

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    A/Prof Diane Webster

    Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

    Dr Diane Webster is an ophthalmologist who attends the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. View Profile

    When the optic nerve is damaged in the eye this can lead to optic atrophy. The optic nerve transmits electrical impulses received by the retina to the brain for processiong and interpretation of the images we see. Optic atrophy occurs due to damage of optic nerve fibres. There are a number of causes for optic nerve damage. In the older population the most common cause of optic atrophy is glaucoma. Optic atrophy can also occur following trauma to the optic nerve. The optic nerve can also be damaged due to a brain injury, tumour, direct compression or vascular causes. Rarely optic atrophy due to damage to the optic nerve can occur at birth or in childhood.

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