Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Elsevier
Publish with us
Optic Nerve
Nervous System

Optic Nerve

Nervus opticus

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: The optic disk in the retina.

Course: Runs posteriorly from the posterior margin of the eye, through the optic canal, and into the cranium.

Branches: Merges with the contralateral optic nerve at the optic chiasm.

Supply: Conveys visual information towards the cortex.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free

Origin

The optic nerve forms when the axons of retinal ganglion cells converge at the back of the eyeball at the optic disk.

Course

The optic nerve emerges from the posterior margin of the eye and runs posteriorly through the orbit. It exits the orbit through the optic canal, emerging intracranially in the middle cranial fossa.

Branches

The optic nerve does not branch. However, it merges with the contralateral optic nerve at the optic chiasm, where some fibers decussate while others remain ipsilateral.

Supplied Structures

The optic nerve is a sensory nerve. It conveys all visual information from the retina towards the cerebral cortex. Most of its axons will travel to the lateral geniculate nucleus and then on to primary visual cortex. Additional axons will travel to the superior colliculus, suprachiasmatic nucleus, and pretectal nuclei.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Visual deficits

—Pupillary light reflex deficits

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Optic Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The optic nerve is a white matter tract conveying visual information to central visual pathways.

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Anatomy of the olfactory (CN I) and optic (CN II) nerves

Osmosis image

Anatomy of the olfactory (CN I) and optic (CN II) nerves Videos, Flashcards, High Yield Notes, & Practice Questions. Learn and reinforce your understanding of Anatomy of the olfactory (CN I) and optic (CN II) nerves.

Explore on Osmosis(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy