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Nutrition and optic nerve disease.

The syndrome characterized by papillomacular bundle damage, central or cecocentral scotoma, and reduction of color vision can be produced by toxic, nutritional, or hereditary causes. Patients who present with such a picture should be evaluated for toxic sources such as tobacco or alcohol use. Nutritional deficiencies must be considered and a good family history should be obtained to explore hereditary factors. DNA mutation analysis is available to detect genetic abnormalities. A trial of nutritional replacement may be advisable even in the face of normal laboratory values. Previous reports have shown dramatic visual improvement with intramuscular hydroxocobalamin and other oral vitamin B complexes, even when specific deficiencies are not found.

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