Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy

Loss of central vision

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) usually occurs between the ages of 18 and 30 with sudden, painless, acute or subacute loss of central vision. It affects both eyes simultaneously or sequentially, with loss of vision in the second eye over the following eight weeks.

After this initial acute phase, the disease tends to stabilize, leaving the person with severe visual impairment.

What is Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy?

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) usually occurs between the ages of 18 and 30 with sudden, painless, acute or subacute loss of central vision.

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy generally does not entail prodromal symptoms. It presents with clouding that initially affects only one eye and evolves rather rapidly into central visual impairment, without any eye pain.

The onset is simultaneous in both eyes in less than 50% of cases, while in the majority, binocular evolution is however consequent and occurs quickly.

Disease progression lasts 3–4 months on average, after which degeneration stabilizes, leading to a visual acuity reduced to finger counting only in 79% of cases.

In some cases, the decrease in visual acuity may be accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as motor disturbances, dystonia, and tremors.

In the early stages of Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), peripheral vision remains intact, so sufferers are able to move around independently.

Central vision is significantly impaired, however, resulting in difficulty recognizing faces and with everyday activities such as driving and reading. 

Over the years, the central scotoma may expand, further impairing central vision and eventually affecting peripheral areas.

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy is a rare disease. There are currently about 35,000 people living with the condition, 0.42% to 2% of whom have visual impairment.

LHON is primarily caused by an X-linked genetic mutation and the first symptoms occur around 15 and 25 years of age in males and later in females, with an estimated incidence of 4 to 1.

Al momento non esiste una cura per la LHON. Gli ausili per il trattamento sintomatico della riduzione della acuità visiva sono l’indicazione principale. Sono però in via di sperimentazione alcuni farmaci che possono coadiuvare il recupero dell’acuità visiva, se non del campo visivo. 

Fondamentale è che le persone con LHON si astengano dall’alcol e dal fumo e assumano antibiotici solo sotto stretta sorveglianza medica, in quanto alcuni potrebbero compromettere l’attività mitocondriale. 

Optical solutions by FONDA for Leber's optic neuropathy

Other solutions by FONDA for the Leber's optic neuropathy

FONDA FiTmacula

Optical system for macular protection


Photoselective glasses cover


Multitasking system for medium-high myopies

FONDA near

Binocular magnifying prismatic glasses

FONDA telescopes

Galileian and keplerian telescopic systems