Measurements of the intraorbital optic nerve were made using high-resolution coronal MRI in 10 adults with autosomal dominant optic atrophy. Comparisons were made with previous studies of 10 normal adult subjects. The cross-sectional diameters of the optic nerve and the perineural subarachnoid space were measured and a ratio of there diameters at anterior, mid and posterior positions along the optic nerve was determined. We found a statistically significant difference in the mean optic nerve: sheath ratio between the control group and patients with autosomal dominant optic atrophy. At anterior, mid and posterior locations along the optic nerve it is significantly smaller in patients with optic atrophy. We have demonstrated that the loss of ganglion cells, previously documented in dominant optic atrophy, is associated with a significant loss of optic nerve tissue and thinning of the nerve along its length.