Optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) is a congenital anomaly of the optic disc that might result in moderate to severe vision loss in children. With a vast number of cases now being reported, the rarity of ONH is obviously now refuted. The major aspects of ophthalmic evaluation of an infant with possible ONH are visual assessment, fundus examination, and visual electrophysiology. Characteristically, the disc is small, there is a peripapillary double-ring sign, vascular tortuosity, and thinning of the nerve fiber layer. A patient with ONH should be assessed for presence of neurologic, radiologic, and endocrine associations. There may be maternal associations like premature births, fetal alcohol syndrome, maternal diabetes. Systemic associations in the child include endocrine abnormalities, developmental delay, cerebral palsy, and seizures. Besides the hypoplastic optic nerve and chiasm, neuroimaging shows abnormalities in ventricles or white- or gray-matter development, septo-optic dysplasia, hydrocephalus, and corpus callosum abnormalities. There is a greater incidence of clinical neurologic abnormalities in patients with bilateral ONH (65%) than patients with unilateral ONH. We present a review on the available literature on the same to urge caution in our clinical practice when dealing with patients with ONH. Fundus photography, ocular coherence tomography, visual field testing, color vision evaluation, neuroimaging, endocrinology consultation with or without genetic testing are helpful in the diagnosis and management of ONH. (Method of search: MEDLINE, PUBMED).
Keywords: Congenital; hypopituitarism; midline brain defects; neurological abnormalities; optic disc; optic nerve hypoplasia.