We report here the characterization of a four-generation Han Chinese family with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). This Chinese family exhibited a variable severity and age-at-onset of visual loss. Notably, the average age-at-onset of vision impairment changed from 26 years (generation III) to 14 years (generation IV), with the average of 18 years in this family. In addition, 30% and 50% of matrilineal relatives in generation III and IV of this family developed visual loss with a variability of severity, ranging from blindness to normal vision. Sequence analysis of the complete mitochondrial DNA in this pedigree revealed the presence of the homoplasmic ND4 G11778A mutation and 33 other variants, belonging to the Asian haplogroup D4. Of other variants, the homoplasmic G11696A mutation in the ND4 gene is of special interest as it was implicated to be associated with LHON in a large Dutch family and five Chinese pedigrees with extremely penetrance of visual loss. In fact, the G11696A mutation caused the substitution of an isoleucine for valine at amino acid position 313, located in a predicted transmembrane region of ND4. These imply that the G11696A mutation may act in synergy with the primary LHON-associated G11778A mutation in this Chinese pedigree.