NAION and Using Stem Cell Treatment to Restore the Optic Nerve

March 10, 2010

I have non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) due to an ulcer that bled and dropped by hemoglobin and my blood pressure dropped. I have high cholesterol and high Triglycerides and border line to diabetes. I am legally blind. Can stem cell treatment help restore the optic nerve?




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28 Responses to “NAION and Using Stem Cell Treatment to Restore the Optic Nerve”

  1. Dr. Ari Weitzner on March 14th, 2010 3:20 am

    again- it’s all experimental. consider allowing yourself to be a guinea pig in a study in a reputable institution. odds are it wont help you, but experience with you will help others. and you never know- you might get lucky and get benefit. but to be honest, if the naion is old, then the nerve damage is almost certainly irreversible due to atropic changes. sorry.

  2. Lawrence Schelero on April 5th, 2010 10:48 am

    In November 2008 while asleep I had a stroke in my left eye leaving me blind in the left eye. My doctor said that the cells in my left eye were starved for blook and thus my blindness. I can see peripherally in the left eye images and some light but can not see if I look straight ahead. Will Adult Stem Cell treatment help me regenerate the cells so that I can see again.

  3. ari on April 8th, 2010 11:36 am

    my answer remains the same- totally experimental. results so far- practically nil. go to a reputable institution and volunteer as a guinea pig.
    do not pay out-of-pocket.
    i am sorry this happened to you. be sure to follow up with your ophthalmologist to make sure the other eye is ok.

  4. Crystal on April 15th, 2010 1:35 am

    My husband has Glaucoma and he wants to volunteer for any research that is out there that will help him get back the nerve loss that he has lost due to the glaucoma. Is there any other items or medications that he can do to help his situation. Please help me help him. Thank you

  5. ari on April 15th, 2010 11:30 am

    Regeneration of nerve tissue is at its infancy. Your husband’s volunteering will unlikely help him, but hopefully the next generation. I advise getting in touch with world-class eye institutions and see what studies they are conducting. (Consider bascom palmer, wills, ny eye and ear, jules stein, cleveland clinic etc.) Sorry we can’t be of more help. Good luck.

  6. JOyce on October 8th, 2010 12:45 pm

    In February of 2005 while on a trip to Daytona, Florida, I had my left eye infected with what months later would be identified as AION. At the time of diagnosis I was told it could happen to my right eye but probably not for years. On Christmas day that same year my right eye was affected. I have huge gaps in my visual fields centrally especially in the right eye. I am able to drive and function at work with the use of glasses and larger fonts on my computer screen. It is so disheartening to hear that research will probably never show that the optic nerve can be regenerated with stem cells. My sister and son both have stem cells from the umbilical cords of their children being cryogentically kept in hopes it will be able to help me out in the future.

  7. barbara on October 16th, 2010 6:17 pm

    I have severe bilateral ischemic optic neuropathy which happened at age 55. I am now 66 and have not driven since. At age 38 I had an occlusion in the artery of my right retina also causing blindness.

    I think I have or at least the doctor thinks I have cataracts. Is it dangerous to undergo treatment for my condition? I do not want to make myself totally blind.

  8. ari weitzner on October 17th, 2010 4:27 pm

    the odds of going blind from cataract surgery are quite low and have nothing to do with your naion.
    cataract surgery may be a good idea if your surgeon feels it will improve your vision. if you have doubts it will improve it- your vision has been stable for many years since your naion- then get a second opinion.

  9. ashley on October 30th, 2010 10:40 am

    I was diagnoised with optic neuropathy back in Feb. Now I was told that it was a viral infections that hit my eyes. Now I have a son should I been concerned about him receiving this disorder in the future. Or should I take a deep breath and relax that this was just something that happened to me? any infor would be very helpful.

  10. Jody on October 30th, 2010 4:19 pm

    If NAION occurred on the right eye, how to prevent it from happening to the left eye?

  11. Dr. Ari Weitzner on November 2nd, 2010 9:56 am

    ashley–viral infection causing optic neuritis is quite rare. Consult with a pediatric ophthalmologist concerning your son.

    generally the only way to reduce risk of naion is to optimize your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and to stop smoking/exercise. unfortunately, a lot has to do with genes, and genes are hard to change. Please consult further with your ophthalmologist regarding any further concerns, or seek a second opinion.

  12. Dr. Ari Weitzner on November 2nd, 2010 10:00 am

    joyce–im sorry about your condition. i wish we had better news for you. research will help, but probably not in the near future. those stem cells you saved may indeed help- hold on to them, and lets hope!
    by the way, are you sure you are talking about aion? it sounds like naion, as aion in the second eye is preventable by treating with steroids, whereas naion is not treatable to prevent in the second eye. aion is almost unheard of in patients under 65

  13. karen harker on January 6th, 2011 7:11 am

    hi my eldest daughter now 12 was born premature by 14 weeks and ended up with brain damage on the right side in the form of hemiplegia due to oxygen levels were to high in ventilation in hospital. by the time she was 9 months old we asked for tests to be carried out as her vision was poor. we learned that the optic nerve was under developed and she was suffering with microphthalmia.

    Can stem cell treatment in the future be used to regenarate development and restore sight as her eye is totally healthy with no signs of infection.

  14. Dr. Ari Weitzner on January 6th, 2011 10:47 am

    stem cells will have a role in the future- the question is when. let’s hope it comes early enough to help your daughter.

  15. ghazala zafar on February 4th, 2011 12:55 pm

    I have naion ,and my left eye is affected .it happened about two months ago.what can help protect my other eye.

  16. ari weitzner on February 7th, 2011 8:14 pm

    risk factors for naion that can be modified include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, sleep apnea among others. unfortunately, some risk factors cannot be modified, like the shape of your optic nerve.

  17. Kal on June 9th, 2011 7:53 am

    Hi i am a 38-years old male, i was diagnosed 8 months ago with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (right eye) due to unsure risk factors such as smoking(even though i am considered as a very light smoker), thalasemia minor blood. my cholesterol level and blood pressure are normal. I need to know if stem cells help in treating the optic nerve and what are the chances of a side effect afterward and what it might be if you are a ware of. thank you

  18. Robin Merry on September 1st, 2011 5:04 pm

    I suffered from NAION about 4 yrs. ago, first in my right eye, and a few months later in my left. I am left with very low vision in my lower visual field. My peripheral has been affected as well. Initially it was devastating, I have since learned to just live with it. I feel very blessed that I didn’t go blind. My triglycerides were over 1000 a couple of years prior to this happening, and I feel like the Doctors should do more to inform patients of risks such at NAION with such high tryglyceride levels. I feel this was the main contributor to my condition as I was only 44 yrs. old when this happened to me. I continue my life as normal, except I trip over wet floor signs, small children, dogs etc. I have to find the humor in my condition….as it was a devastating thing to have happen. Does alcohol worsen this condition…because that is part of having the humor!! LOL

  19. ari on September 2nd, 2011 8:47 am

    you are right that risk factors need to be optimized to reduce risk of naion. But i dont think alcohol plays any role.

  20. Debbie Jordan on January 11th, 2012 9:53 pm

    My husband suffered an optic nerve stroke after having cataract surgery. He is a severe diabetic & the other eye has a cataract plus bleeds sometimes. He has had laser surgery which has messed his peripheral vision up in the other eye. He is legally blind & stays depressed a lot of the time. He is only 56 years old & had to retire early because he can’t see to drive. If you have any studies that you know of that could help I would appreciate hearing from you…

  21. ari on January 12th, 2012 10:16 am

    im afraid there is nothing. severe diabetes destroys the circulation in the eye, and we cant restore the capillaries that feed the eye. i am so sorry.

  22. Limor on February 7th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Hi my mother was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (left eye). Can stem cell treatment help restore the optic nerve?

  23. ari weitzner on February 8th, 2012 4:08 pm

    the answer is no- sorry. again- look at the stem cell research list and see if she can be a volunteer.

  24. ann on March 21st, 2012 11:02 am

    I have a friend who has optic nerve damage at the beginning of the nerve and doctors tell him there is nothing they can do to help him. Is there a place in Louisiana that can help him and do they have any homeopathic products out there to help strengthen his eyes?
    Thank you for any information you can give me.

  25. ari on March 21st, 2012 3:54 pm

    homeopathic products are worthless- stay away.
    consult the stem cell section on this site for any clinical trials.

  26. Richard Miller on May 3rd, 2012 6:40 pm

    I had a stroke and lost my perefial vision.I heard they are doing Stem Cell Surgery to the Optic Nerve to restore the Vision.Whom do I contact or what hospital! Thank You Very Much! Rick Miller

  27. ari on May 4th, 2012 10:00 am

    look at the stem cell section here for centers, or contact a world-class university hospital/eye center

  28. Irv Arons on May 13th, 2012 1:02 pm

    Unfortunately, in my search of where stem cell research is being conducted, the only place i found where optic nerve atrophy was being studied was in China, by the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force. Here’s the link:

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