Causes of the optic nerve damage

Causes of optic nerve atrophy are varied. They include severe diseases of different nature, toxic effects of various substances and physical impacts. 

Primary optic nerve atrophy develops as a distinct disease that is caused by a genetic disorder transmitted by inheritance (X-linked), is manifested in men aged 15-25 years.

More common is secondary optic atrophy, which may develop affected by other disease at any age.

The main causes of secondary optic nerve atrophy are :

1. Impact of viral or infectious diseases (meningitis, encephalitis, syphilis, herpes, influenza and other diseases).

2. Different diseases of the nervous system (multiple sclerosis, neuritis and other diseases).

3. Effects of poisons. Mechanisms of poisons penetration in the body are varied. The most common is affection by alcohol substitutes. Often is occurred affection by addictive substances. Toxic effect of nicotine and quinine on the optic nerve is proven.

4. Violations of normal blood circulation - due to narrowing of blood vessels, or changes in pressure, occurs impaired circulation and supply of oxygen to the tissues of internal environments of the eye and optic nerve. Violations occur in case of thrombosis or embolism of the eye vessels, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, vasculitis, profuse bleedings, increased intraocular pressure (glaucoma).

5. Physical impacts and traumas: the effects of traumatic brain injury, intracranial tumors and hematomas, trauma to the eyes and optic nerve due to mechanical effects of accidents and disasters.