In this eye, the neuroretinal rim is much whiter than in the normal optic disc. The pallor reflects replacement of dead axons by glial tissue. The loss of the small capillaries within the nerve accounts for the shift from orange-pink to white.
Be careful about judging optic nerve function by its color. First, the color change may be very subtle. Second, it takes many weeks of optic nerve damage before pallor appears. Third, a cataract may make a pale disc look orange.