The course of axons through the retina and optic nerve head

Archives of Ophthalmology
R L Radius, D R Anderson


By identifying degenerating axons in tissue specimens from 22 primate eyes, it was possible to demonstrate the normal course of axon fibers. Nerve fiber bundles from a group of retinal ganglion cells travel together with little tendency to disperse laterally. In addition, axons are stratified such that processes from more central ganglion cells are successfully added to the inner strata of the retinal nerve fiber layer. Within and behind the lamina cribrosa, areas of degeneration following retinal photocoagulation were well circumscribed and confined to a group of adjacent axon bundles. This degree of retinotopic organization of axons within the nerve head and retinal fiber layer is believed to be consistent with the premise that isolated lesions within the lamina cribrosa could cause well-organized paracentral scotomas such as those characteristic of early glaucoma.


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