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Stem Cells for Optic Nerve Atrophy

Stem Cell Treatment for Optic Nerve Atrophy

It arises from end-stage optic nerve damage due to various reasons anywhere along the path from the retina to the lateral geniculate. The degeneration of the optic nerve occurs as a result of any pathological process that damages axons in the nerve. There are two kinds of optic nerve atrophy:

Primary Optic Atrophy – This is the degeneration of nerve fibers without any complicating process within the eye, often due to lesions proximal to the optic disc without antecedent papilloedema. Causes include multiple sclerosis, retrobulbar neuritis, Leber’s atrophies, intracranial tumors, trauma, and toxic amblyopias.

Secondary Optic Atrophy – This occurs following any pathological process that produces optic neuritis or papilloedema. Also called consecutive atrophy, it results from the destruction of ganglion cells secondary to degenerative or inflammatory lesions of the choroid/retina. Causes include diffuse chorioretinitis, retinitis pigmentosa, and pathological myopia.

The degeneration of the optic nerve can be categorized into two parts:

  • Ascending Optic Atrophy – The nerve fiber degeneration progresses from the eyeball towards the genicular body.
  • Descending Optic Atrophy – Degeneration proceeds from the posterior portion of the nerve towards the optic disc.

Once the optic nerve is damaged, it does not regenerate or replace naturally. Treatment needs to target:

    1. Protection of the nerve,
    2. Regeneration of the nerve, and
    3. Enhancement of the nerve.

Stem cell therapy helps in neuroprotection and cell replacement. Stem cells produce many survival factors, promoting the regeneration process and potentially slowing down or stopping further degeneration.

Stem cells are isolated from the patient’s own bone marrow, cultured, and then transplanted back via intravenous and retrobulbar injections. In some cases, based on clinical examination, intrathecal injection of stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid is also performed.

NeuroCyte provides Stem Cell Treatment for Optic Nerve Atrophy in Bangalore, India.

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