The Eyes Have It
Now available as a mobile app with updated content, images, & videos. Get the app from the iTunes app store or learn more Download The Eyes Have It app from the iTunes app store

Normal Optic Disc

Normal optic Disc

The optic disc is shaped like a doughnut with a pink neuroretinal rim and a central white depression called the physiologic cup.

Check out the color of the neuroretinal rim, which carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells. It should be orange-pink. If its axons die, the rim will turn white. Inflammation, infarction, and compression are common causes.

Inspect the external margins of the neuroretinal rim. Are they distinct? Some fuzziness of the nasal margin is acceptable. Otherwise, the optic nerve may be pathologically swollen, particularly if the rim rises well above the retinal surface. Common causes of disc edema are increased intracranial pressure and optic nerve inflammation and infarction.

Inspect the physiologic cup. Its horizontal diameter should not exceed 1/2 the horizontal diameter of the entire disc (the "cup-to-disc ratio"). Otherwise, suspect pathologic optic disc cupping. Glaucoma is the commonest cause.

 Previous Next 

The Eyes Have It
An interactive teaching and assessment program on vision care
Please contact us with your comments


Originally created by Jonathan Trobe, M.D., University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center
© 2009 The Regents of the University of Michigan

Creative Commons Attribute logo
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.