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Leber's Optic Neuropathy

What is Leber’s optic neuropathy?
Dr. Leber was the doctor who first wrote about this eye condition.  Optic means eye, and neuropathy means a problem with nerves.  The optic nerve is the part of the eye that takes the vision messages to the brain.

People who have Leber’s optic neuropathy have damage to the optic nerve.  Vision messages do not get from the eye to the brain.

Some people who have Leber’s optic neuropathy have problems that are not in the eyes.  Some of them have some weak muscles.  Sometimes their hearts do not keep a steady beat.

Most of the people who get Leber’s optic neuropathy are teenage boys.

What causes Leber’s optic neuropathy?
No one knows what makes the nerve cells stop working.

What kind of vision do people have who have Leber’s optic neuropathy?
People who have Leber’s optic neuropathy lose vision on the sides first.  Then they lose vision in the center.  One eye loses vision first and then the other eye loses vision.  After a while they cannot see colors.  Then the vision gets better for two or three years.

What will help you if you have Leber’s optic neuropathy?

  1. Make things look bigger.  The easy way to make things look bigger is to move them close to you or move yourself close to them.  Use a bookstand to hold your book so that you can sit up to look at it up close.  Maybe a magnifier will help you see things close to you.  You can make print and pictures bigger on the computer, with a CCTV or with a copy machine.
  2. Wear glasses if they help you.
  3. Learn braille if reading print is difficult.  You will be able to read braille all your life.
  4. Use listening to learn.
  5. Learn to use a white cane.  If it is hard to see at night, a white cane will help you find things.  You won’t bump into things, and you won’t trip.

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