2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II)
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  • Release Date: 2024-04-03
  • cranial nerve
  • brain
  • retina
  • visual cortex
  • eye
  • glaucoma
  • stroke
Video Introduction

The content is sourced from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai7QnHS7C7g

The optic nerve, also known as the second cranial nerve, is responsible for transmitting visual information from the retina to the brain. In this video, I discuss the anatomy and function of the optic nerve, as well as describe what can happen when the nerve is damaged. [1]

The optic nerve is a sensory nerve responsible for transmitting information about vision to the brain. The nerve begins in the retina as the axons of cells called retinal ganglion cells. These axons come together to leave the eye at a region called the optic disc and form the optic nerve. 

The optic nerve leaves the eye and extends to a structure called the optic chiasm where it meets the optic nerve from the other eye. At the optic chiasm, the optic nerve fibers carrying information from the sides of the retina closest to the nose cross over to the other side of the brain, while those carrying information from the sides of the retina closest to the temples remain on the side of the brain where they are. After leaving the optic chiasm, the nerve fibers are referred to as the optic tract. Most of the nerve fibers in the optic tract end in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus, and from there the information will be passed on to the visual cortex. 

Damage to the optic nerve can occur due to a variety of causes like trauma, tumors, stroke, or glaucoma. The deficit that occurs after damage depends on where the nerve is damaged, and involves some degree of visual defect or anopsia. If the damage occurs before the optic chiasm, then the patient will experience blindness in the eye supplied by that optic nerve. Damage to the middle of the optic chiasm will cause loss of the lateral visual field of both eyes, due to the way fibers from the nasal side of the retina cross over at this point. If the optic tract is damaged, one half of the visual field will be lost in both eyes.


  1. Vanderah TW, Gould DJ. Nolte's The Human Brain. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016.
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Challenged, N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II). Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1148 (accessed on 25 May 2024).
Challenged N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II). Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1148. Accessed May 25, 2024.
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II)" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1148 (accessed May 25, 2024).
Challenged, N. (2024, April 03). 2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II). In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1148
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Optic Nerve (Cranial Nerve II)." Encyclopedia. Web. 03 April, 2024.
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