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The Optic Pathway

By James Garrity, MD

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The optic pathway includes the retina, optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic radiations, and occipital cortex (see Figure: Higher visual pathways—lesion sites and corresponding visual field defects.). Damage along the optic pathway causes a variety of visual field defects. The type of field defect can help localize the lesion (see Table: Types of Field Defects).

Higher visual pathways—lesion sites and corresponding visual field defects.

With retrochiasmal lesions, visual field defects become more symmetric (congruous), as shown with the occipital lesion in #4.

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