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Optic Nerve Hypoplasia

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Mark S. Borchert, MD, Division Head and Director, Eye Birth Defects and Eye Technology Institutes, The Vision Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Optic Nerve Hypoplasia

  • DeMorsier syndrome
  • ONH
  • septooptic dysplasia
  • SOD

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

The syndrome of optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), also known as septooptic dysplasia (SOD) or DeMorsier syndrome, is a congenital disorder characterized by underdevelopment (hypoplasia) of the optic nerves. The optic nerves transmit impulses from the nerve-rich membranes lining the retina of the eye to the brain. Children with ONH may have brain and pituitary malformations. Abnormalities of structures of the brain may include hypoplasia of the corpus callosum (nerve fibers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain), underdeveloped nerve fibers (white matter) in any other location, and abnormal migration of neurons to the surface of the brain (cortical heterotopia). A common association without any known functional consequence is absence of the septum pellucidum. Abnormal development of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain results in abnormal function of the pituitary gland with or without visible neuroradiographic abnormalities of the pituitary. The pituitary gland is a hormone-producing gland at the base of the brain that controls hormones in the body that are necessary for growth, energy, and sexual development.

Most people with ONH have abnormal eye movements (nystagmus) and vision can range from no light perception to good functional vision, or even full vision in one eye. Some affected children have normal intelligence and others have learning disabilities and developmental delays. Deficiencies of certain hormones may result in growth retardation, poor development, and may be life-threatening without treatment. Hormone deficiencies can be controlled with daily hormone replacement therapy and close monitoring by an endocrinologist (hormone doctor). The cause of ONH is not understood.

Optic Nerve Hypoplasia Resources

(Please note that some of these organizations may provide information concerning certain conditions potentially associated with this disorder [e.g., visual impairment, growth hormone deficiency, diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, mental retardation, etc.].)

NORD Member Organizations:

(To become a member of NORD, an organization must meet established criteria and be approved by the NORD Board of Directors. If you're interested in becoming a member, please contact Susan Olivo, Membership Manager, at solivo@rarediseases.org.)

Other Organizations:

The information in NORD’s Rare Disease Database is for educational purposes only. It should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. NORD’s reports provide a brief overview of rare diseases. For more specific information, we encourage you to contact your personal physician or the agencies listed as “Resources” on this report.

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