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International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease

P. O. Box 777, Cornwall NY 12518, USA
Phone/Fax: (845) 5348606

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Understanding Optic Nerve Disease

The importance of the optic nerve to vision has long been known. It is the essential link between eye and brain that makes vision possible. If the optic nerve is seriously affected by disease or damaged through trauma or a tumor, visual loss or blindness may result.

The major optic nerve diseases are:

Ischemic Optic Neuropathy
Toxic Optic Nerve Disease
Glaucomatous Optic Nerve Disease (GOND)
Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)

Together, they affect millions of people worldwide. Optic nerve disease of other types are no less important for their impact on individuals and families and for understanding the mechanisms of optic nerve disease.

The understanding and definition of optic nerve disease began to change in the 1980's with a series of neuroscientific discoveries that helped explain the process by which nerve cells, including those in the optic nerve, die. One major cause of nerve cell death is an insufficient supply of energy which nerve cells derive from oxidative metabolism. By depriving optic nerve cells of energy they are prone to a destructive cascade of events which may kill them.

This discovery and related investigations of the mechanisms involved in nerve cell death, have broadened the understanding of how the optic nerve is damaged when it becomes diseased. It is now known that visual loss and blindness may result not only from physical insult (trauma) and decreased blood supply to the optic nerve, but also from disease that originates in the optic nerve itself.

The research in optic nerve disease is promising and exciting to scientists and physicians in many disciplines, including ophthalmology, neurology, physiology, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, pathology and molecular biology. They are now involved in research related to further understanding of optic nerve disease, prevention, and therapy. Therapies designed to protect the optic nerve from disease are being developed.

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The International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease
P. O. Box 777, Cornwall NY 12518, USA.
Phone/Fax: (845)5348606
Web site:

IFOND is registered service mark of The International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease

Copyright 1999-2019, International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease.

The information contained on this website should not be considered medical guidance or professional advice. IFOND is not responsible for errors or omissions in information provided on this site or actions resulting from its use. IFOND does not publish all information from all available sources on optic nerve disease. IFOND is not responsible for the validity of the studies or reviews nor is it an advocate of studies or reviews mentioned on or linked from the IFOND web site. IFOND does not endorse or recommend participation in any particular clinical trial or treatment protocol which may be mentioned on this site. Direct any questions concerning your personal health to your appropriate health care professional.