Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) causes central vision loss from bilateral optic neuropathy. Although 13 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are strongly associated with LHON, only three account for roughly 90% of cases and thus are found in multiple independent LHON families. The remaining LHON mutations are rare. Here, we describe the clinical and genetic characterization of a new LHON mtDNA mutation. The 12848T mutation alters a highly conserved amino acid in the ND5 complex I gene, is not found in controls, and is heteroplasmic. Despite ND5 being the largest of the mtDNA complex I genes, ND5 mutations are quite rare in LHON.