Eye Care Expert Forum
Color of optic nerve in children
About This Forum:

Our Ask-A-Doctor Eye Care Forum is where you can post your question and receive a personal answer from physicians affiliated with the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Color of optic nerve in children

My one year old niece recently went to an optomitrist.  He informed my sister and mother that the color of one of her optic nerves was an abnormal color and refered her to an opthamologist.  He said he wasn't sure what that could mean because she appears to see fine.  Of course she cant read so he really couldn't tell much.  We are so worried, and would like to know what this could mean.
Related Discussions
233488_tn?1310696703
Your question has been answered by 'circumspect' below a physician member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
1 Comment
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am an board certified ophthalmologist, although not the forum physician. The optic nerve normally has a pink-orange color. The most common serious "color" problem is optic nerve atrophy where the nerve starts to look pale and white. There are a variety of causes although in a one year old the most common causes would be a congential optic atrophy, poor development (hypoplasia) of the optic nerve, or other developmental problem (toxoplasmosis, toxocara canis, retinal coloboma) . In most instances the cause of the difference in color can be totally harmless. For example sometimes whitish material called glia tissue or myelin can remain on the optic nerve from when the nerve was developing, sometimes the nomal pigment of the retina is not present around the optic nerve (coloboma, conus) and it can make the optic nerve look whiter than normal.

The child needs to be seen by a pediatric ophthalmologist or a comprehensive ophthalmologist with experience in pediatrics. There is more of a chance that this is a harmless or benign problem rather than a serious sight threatening condition---BUT it needs to be checked soon.

Please remember the main cause of loss of vision in American children is amblyopia.  Amblyopia, sometimes incorrectly called "lazy eye" (an inexact term also applied to droopy eyelid or externally wandering eye) is an eye that does not see normal. Amblyopia occurs in 2% of American children but in offspring or relatives of people with amblyopia the incidence is about 20%. Infants with obvious vision problems, crossed eyes, droopy eyelides, "jumping eyes" (nystagmus), white pupil reflex need to be seen immediately by a pediatric ophthalmologist. ALL children should be examined by an optometrist, ophthalmologist between age 3 and 4 to check for amblyopia. Unfortunately only a minority of children are seen for an eye exam when this young. Amblopia is often discovered for the first time when children start first grade. At that age amblyopia is often difficult to treat (treated with glasses and eye occlusion therapy).

JCH MD Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
233488_tn?1310696703
John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
Discover Vision Centers of Kansas City
Kansas City, MO
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank