One must be rather wary about the diagnosis of optic atrophy in young children because the optic discs tend to look rather pale in normal individuals. Occasionally, unilateral visual loss with or without a squint is found to be associated with pallor of the disc on one side. Confirmed optic atrophy, either unilateral or bilateral, requires a full neurological investigation. The causes of optic atrophy in childhood are numerous but the important ones can be listed as follows:
• Causes of optic atrophy without systemic disease include:
- hereditary optic atrophy
- drug toxicity.
• Causes of optic atrophy with systemic disease include:
- glioma of chiasm and craniopharyngioma
- post meningitic
- post traumatic after head injury
- cerebral palsy
- disorders of lipid metabolism.
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