Optic atrophy is the loss of optic nerve fibers, causing partial or total blindness. The optic nerve has no capability for regeneration. Thus, there can be no recovery from optic atrophy and as a result there is always irreversible visual loss due to damage to the optic nerve.
Optic atrophy can be acquired or congenital. When it is hereditary, there is an onset of deterioration in childhood and may be accompanied by nystagmus, a form of involuntary eye movement. The acquired type of optic atrophy is caused by blood supply changes in the eye or optic nerve.