Optic Nerve Damage

CNS & PNS   Types of damage   IOP damage   Genetic damage   Nutritional support   Self help | Review

Optic nerve damage impacts vision at the most fundamental level causing severe vision loss. The optic nerve is like a cable of more than a million tiny electrical wires, or nerve fibers each carrying a part of the visual information to the visual cortex in the brain. If these nerve fibers become damaged, the brain doesn't get all the vision information and our sight becomes blurred.

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Central and peripheral nervous system

Each and every functioning of our body; everything we do consciously or unconsciously is intimately connected to the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is the central organizing power of the body. It is comprised of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is the receiver, analyzer, and organizer of all the information coming from the five senses in every part of the body. It is also the integrating force of all of the behind-the-scenes information communicated from organs of the body, glands, and every other entity that acts or reacts to physical, chemical, mental, and electrical stimuli.

The peripheral nervous system is comprised of the nerve cells that are not part of the brain or spinal cord and connects the CNS to the organs, glands, and extremities of the body.

The optic nerve is not part of the brain but it and the retina are considered to be part of the central nervous system. Like brain cells, the optic nerve begins to develop during the earliest embryonic stages. The cells of the optic nerve are covered in covered with myelin, like brain and spinal cord cells.

Types of optic nerve damage

Optic nerve damage can take a variety of forms resulting in different conditions.

  • Untreated increased intraocular pressure (eye pressure) can eventually affect peripheral (side) vision causing glaucoma.

  • If the optic nerve becomes inflamed due to autoimmune conditions, viral, fungal and bacterial infections, parasitic diseases, toxins, allergies, digestive problems, diabetes, and/or simply poor circulation then optic neuritis may result. Such inflammation attacks the myelin covering and the optic nerve becomes swollen and, over time, damaged.

  • There are several hereditary conditions which can cause damage to the optic nerve. Leber's usually affects young men and is passed from the mother's genes. Scientists have determined that retinitis pigmentosa can arise from several types of genetic mutations, but especially mutation of the gene which controls the pigment rhodopsin.

  • There are a number of medications and toxins that damage the optic nerve. The resulting damage is known as toxic optic neuropathy. These include a number of medicines for heart disease, diabetes, tuberculosis and contraceptives. Too much vitamin A can cause swelling. Both smoking and alcohol use also damage the optic nerve. Learn more about drugs that harm the eyes.

  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially deficiencies of B12 and folic acid give rise to nutritional optic neuropathy. Treatment with intramuscular B12 as well as oral B12 supplementation has been found to result in dramatic improvement in vision.1

  • Tumors or other growths as well as elevated intraocular pressure can mechanically compress the optic nerve resulting in compressive optic neuropathy.

Learn more about types of damage to the optic nerve.

Nutritional support

Because nutritional optic neuropathy results from nutritional deficiencies, good nutrition is critical for healthy optic nerves. Nutritional optic neuropathy arises especially due to vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies. Certain nutrients such as lutein, vinpocetine, l-lysine, bilberry, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium and a number of other vitamins & enzymes and fish oil support optic nerve health.

One study found an association between low or elevated levels of - and balance of - certain micronutrients in the blood of patients with optic neuritis - copper, iron, zinc, and cadmium.2


Dear Michael,
About three months ago we corresponded regarded my eye problems and you suggested a few supplements for my conditions. I am pleased to say that I went to my ophthalmologist today and after taking a few pictures and looking into my eyes he says I am much better. There is no oozing from the vessel above the optic nerve, which makes me so happy. He says as far as the PVD there is still some pulling but the pictures show everything to be improving. I can only say thank you to God and to you for all you do to help those of us who are clueless about eye health. Since I spoke with you I have also been cutting way back on sugar intake and eating many more fruits and vegetables as well as juicing. I think all this has helped. If you have any suggestions to help with my PVD, please let me know.

On another note, I am wondering how long I should continue with the therapeutic dosage of Viteyes Optic Nerve, Advanced eye and vision support and super omega fish oil. When should I expect to switch over to maintenance dose? Right now I take Viteyes 3 times/day, Advanced eye 3 times/day and fish oil 2 times/day.

Thanks for your help and please know I am extremely grateful. Btw, Dr. Woodward had your company advertised quite prominently in his office. It was nice to see. I told him I was taking them and he said it is a good thing.

Stay well and God bless,


1. Nutrition & Optic Disease, Woon,C., et al, Neuro-Ophthalmology Department, University of Texas, Seminars in Ophthalmology 1995 Sep;10(3):195-202
2. K. Kazmierczak, et al, Blood plasma levels of microelements in patients with history of optic neuritis, Current Eye Research, January, 2014, Vol 39.

CNS & PNS   Types of damage   IOP damage   Genetic damage   Nutritional support   Self help