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Optic nerve: structure, possible diseases, protection
Optic nerve: structure, possible diseases, protection

The sensory optic nerve begins at the back of the eye. Then it goes deep into the back of the head. Through it, information is transmitted to a special section of the brain for further processing. The nerve receives information about the image from the retina, to which it is directly attached.

Anatomy: the structure of the nerve

The optic nerve consists of 4 conditional sections inside:

  • Ocular - a disc with a diameter of about 1 millimeter;
  • Orbital - this part has a length of 3 centimeters;
  • Tubular - leads to the brain;
  • Cranial - directly connected to the brain.

The optic nerve consists of fibers, their total number is more than a million. Its special structure prevents it from being stretched and thereby injured. The optic nerve converts light and color information and delivers it to the brain for analysis.

Disturbances in the anatomy of the nerve entail loss of visual function, lack of color sensations, and the appearance of hallucinations.

Optic nerve head

The disc takes a special place. It is located at the back of the eye.

In healthy people, its structure must meet the following criteria:

  • Retinal vessels are clearly distinguished;
  • It is located strictly at the level of the cornea;
  • There is a physiological excavation;
  • The disc should have clear boundaries, the temporal lobe stands out more strongly;
  • Choroidal and scleral rings are required;
  • The attachment of the optic nerve thickens slightly closer to the nasal part;
  • The nasal part is painted in a more intense color than the temporal one;
  • The normal color for a disc is pink, in old age it acquires a yellowish tint;
  • There is no clear size for the disc, it is different for each person, it varies up to 1 millimeter;
  • It has an oval shape.

Symptoms of diseases affecting the optic nerve

The optic nerve is susceptible to various lesions.

Their main symptoms are manifested as:

  • Strong headache;
  • Decreased photosensitivity;
  • Changes in the field of vision;
  • Significant loss of visual acuity, up to blindness.

The main causes of defeat

The reasons for the defeat can be very different.

Still, there are typical:

  • Infections;
  • Head trauma;
  • Acute lack of trace elements and vitamins;
  • Disrupted metabolism;
  • Poor circulation;
  • Toxic poisoning;
  • Congenital or acquired damage to the central nervous system or brain.

The most common diseases of the optic nerve

There are many different diseases. The most common ones are as follows.

Atrophy, in which both the entire branch and its individual parts are affected. As a result, vision is completely or partially lost. If the atrophy is not complete, a change in the field and a decrease in visual acuity are immediately observed.

A tumor is extremely rare, most often its type is glioma. Causes partial loss of visual function.

Treatment is carried out only through surgery. Neuropathy is the result of circulatory disorders.

Inflammation - there are several of them. The first is retrobulbar neuritis, which causes a severe headache that is aggravated by rotating the eyes. The second - papillitis, affects the condition of the disk. Inflammation occurs under the influence of various factors, for example, infringement, infection, dysfunction of the central nervous system.

Edema of the disc or edema - distinguish between unilateral and bilateral. If you eliminate it in time, the symptoms disappear without a trace. In case of untimely assistance, it develops into atrophy.

Ophthalmic nerve and atrophy

The most common type of lesion is atrophy. The disease develops against the background of destruction and replacement of nerve fibers with connective tissue.

Reasons causing defeat:

  • Obstruction of the retinal arteries;
  • Dysfunction of the central nervous system;
  • Congestive and pathological processes in the retina;
  • Swelling of the brain;
  • Infectious diseases;
  • Injuries;
  • Strong intoxication of the body.

Key symptoms of atrophy

Depending on the cause, the symptoms will vary, but there are also the main ones:

Vision drops sharply with complete atrophy, and it is impossible to stop this process without eliminating the cause. Partial does not give such an effect, vision decreases gradually and at a certain point the progression stops. There may be a change in the field of view that affects color perception


As soon as the first symptoms appear, you need to go to an ophthalmologist. Consultations of narrow specialists may be required, since this is a problem not only of ophthalmology, but also of neurology.

The doctor will conduct computer diagnostics, which will include perimetry, ophthalmoscopy, CT or MRI, you may need to donate blood and urine for tests. These studies will show the full picture, as well as the extent of the lesion. This will make it possible to prescribe further treatment.

The optic nerve and treatment of its lesion

Treatment of this pathology is not an easy and long task. Its anatomy is such that the lost tissue cannot be replenished in any way. The question of treatment can arise when there is something to bring in shape. That is, with partial atrophy or, if everything is only in the initial stage, when the degenerative processes have just begun. The neglected forms can hardly be cured.

Since the disease has certain causes, treatment should be started with their elimination. The sooner you start, the better your chances of fully recovering.

In such cases, treatment does not take very long, from several weeks to several months. The restoration of visual function and the affected fibers occurs completely.

The main treatment includes drops, injections, pills, physiotherapy procedures. These drugs are mainly used.

Biological and synthetic stimulants of regenerative processes: various enzymes, immunomodulators, vitamins. For example, "Ascorutin", "Fibrinolysin", "Eleuthorococcus", "Glutamic" acid.

Vasodilator drugs that improve the blood circulation process. For example, "Zufillin", "No-shpa", "Papaverine", "Nicotinic" acid.

Hormonal drugs that improve metabolism at the cellular level and promote the resorption of various neoplasms: Preductal, Dexamethasone, Emoxipin.

Take all drugs only with the permission of your doctor. Self-treatment in this case is inappropriate, and even dangerous for life, and not only for health. You may need to undergo several courses of treatment. Additionally, you can visit therapeutic rooms with special installations that stimulate all the necessary processes in the body, not only to improve overall well-being, but also aimed at recovery.

Preventive actions to avoid recurrence of the lesion

Take care of your diet, adjust it so that you can consume more healthy and natural foods. It is imperative that the daily diet should include fermented milk products, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, light meat and animal by-products, in particular the liver.

Timely treat all infectious diseases and those that provoke atrophy. Avoid consuming toxic substances, including alcohol. Always pay attention to changes in visual function.

The optic nerve is very important for the full functioning of not only the eyes, but also the brain. Treatment of his defeat is a rather laborious process that requires an integrated and systematic approach.

The main thing is to contact competent specialists in time. Although its structure is simple, its functions are quite serious. Loss of nerve fibers will result in loss of vision. Therefore, be attentive to your health and respond to all the signals that the body gives.

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