Ophthalmoscopic findings in Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. II. The fundus findings in the affected family members

Arch Ophthalmol. 1983 Jul;101(7):1059-68. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1983.01040020061011.


Eighteen men and four women had Leber's disease. Fundus photographs obtained in three cases showed the following: Peripapillary microangiopathy, present from the beginning, slowly increased during the presymptomatic stage. At the end of the presymptomatic stage, the nerve fiber layer became swollen. During the acute stage, retinal vessels on and around the disc were dilated, tortuous, and telangiectatic. Nerve fiber layer hemorrhages occurred in two eyes. As atrophy appeared first in the papillomacular bundle and then in the remaining retina, the vascular bed involuted, leaving a capillary-poor retina with attenuated arterioles and a pale optic disc. The final degree of atrophy varied. Fifteen of the affected persons were blind with severe optic atrophy, but in seven optic atrophy was only partial, causing less visual handicap. Our results suggest that Leber's disease is primarily an intraocular, not a retrobulbar, optic neuropathy. It should be redesignated as Leber's hereditary neuroretinopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Optic Atrophy / diagnosis*
  • Optic Atrophy / genetics
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology