Optic Nerve Atrophy: What is it?

Optic Nerve Atrophy refers to the death of the retinal ganglion cell axons that comprise the optic nerve with the resulting picture of a pale optic nerve on fundoscopy.

Optic Nerve Atrophy is a condition in which the retinal ganglion cells and their axons degenerate. It usually manifests as variable degrees of visual dysfunction and a gray or pale optic disc.

Optic Nerve Atrophy can be an independent disease but meanwhile the endpoint of multiple eye or somatic diseases.

Optic Nerve Atrophy is a terminal stage that arises from multiple causes of optic nerve damage along the path from the retina to the lateral geniculate body. It is also linked to vision loss as the Optic Nerve transmits retinal information to the brain.

It has many risk factors, such as infection, ischemia, compression, trauma, toxic, degeneration, demyelination and genetic diseases. Epidemiological surveys have showed that Optic Nerve Atrophy ranks the second among visual dysfunctions in children.

Due to its complex causes, high incidence, long extension, high possibility causing blindness and significant influence on life and work, Optic Nerve Atrophy has drawn great attention in the medical society.

Causes of Optic Nerve Atrophy

The optic nerve is composed of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to the brain. In case of optic atrophy there could be interference with the optic nerve’s ability to transmit these impulses. Numerous factors can cause the interference:

  • Glaucoma
  • Stroke of the optic nerve
  • A tumor that is pressing on the optic nerve
  • Optic Neuritis
  • Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy
  • Person born with improper formation of the optic nerve

What can happen during an Optic Nerve Atrophy?

Since the optic nerve is the conduit for information from the retina to the brain, a damaged optic nerve will result in vision loss. Subtle damage might not affect acuity but may lead to a loss of contrast or color vision.

Optic Nerve Atrophy causes vision to dim and reduces the field of vision. The ability to see fine detail will also be lost. Colors will seem faded. Over time, the pupil will be less able to react to light, and eventually, its ability to react to light may be lost.

Severe damage may lead from legal blindness to no light perception. Loss of vision occurs in the respective visual field due to the damage to a part of the optic nerve.

Optic Nerve Atrophy: What is the cure of it?

Optic Nerve Atrophy is the loss of nerve fibers that make up the Optic Nerve. It can be caused by a variety of conditions from Glaucoma to loss of blood flow (ischemic optic neuropathy) to inflammatory conditions (like multiple sclerosis which can cause Optic Neuritis) to compressive lesions (tumors or other lesions pressing on the nerve behind the eye).

There is no “cure” once atrophy has developed. It is very important to determine why the Optic Nerve Atrophy has occurred to treat the underlying condition and prevent further atrophy from developing as well as to prevent the same thing from occurring in the other eye.

Can Medical Acupuncture treat Optic Nerve Atrophy?

Medical Acupuncture therapy has a long history of treating Optic Nerve Atrophy and is well-accepted by patients for its convenience and therapeutic benefit. Studies show that Acupuncture can activate the bioelectricity in visual center, improve optic nerve cell metabolism and promote the local blood circulation, which allows the partially damaged optic nerves to be repaired.

Acupuncture to the point Feng-chi (GB20) can regulate the tension and elasticity of blood vessels of brain, thus helping the blood circulation of brain and also the vision via improving ocular blood circulation. Acupuncture at Tai-chong (LR3) can shorten the latency of pattern visual evoked potential (P-VEP) P100 and improve optic nerve conduction.

Some studies hold that the heat sensation produced via Acupuncture at an acupoint can enhance blood circulation, improve microcirculation and indirectly nourish optic nerves.

It is possible that Acupuncture treatments conduct an electrical signal via the dorsal root ganglion and Spinal Cord, and finally regulate ocular blood flow.

Orasis Acupuncture Institute: The treatment

Optic Nerve Atrophy treatment at the Orasis Acupuncture Institute, relies on stimulation of the optic nerve which induces it to function more efficiently.

Our treatment method helps in stopping the damage, protecting and improving metabolism of the nerve cells between retinal ganglion cell axons and the lateral geniculate body (anterior visual system) thereby stopping any further degeneration of the optic nerve.

It is reported that Acupuncture Treatment also regulates expression of nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in retina (Pagani et al., 2006) which may regulate retinal gene expression and provide neuroprotection.

We are focusing on improving the blood supply to the optic nerve which brings about the better health of the optic nerve.

Our commitment to our Patients

At the “Orasis Acupuncture Institute”, our well trained Physicians and Ophthalmologist Acupuncturists, after a comprehensive consultation to understand your entire health profile, with an integrative and individualized approach will form an Acupuncture Treatment Plan securing your vision improvement.


Vision Acupuncture Institute

125-127 Kifisias Ave

Ampelokipi –  Athens, Greece

Cosmos Business Center, Offices 536 – 538

Telephone: +30 210 69 10 401

E-mail: contact at orasisac.com


At our Institute, in the period of Covid-19, we care about your safety and we implement all the prescribed health protocols of  the Greek Ministry of Health and the Infectious Diseases Commission of EODY.