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Myelinated Nerve Fibers

Myelinated nerve fibers

The white clouds that surround the optic disc represent a congenital anomaly called myelinated retinal nerve fibers. Myelination does not normally extend onto the retina. When it does, these clouds appear permanently adjacent to the optic disc. They do not interfere with vision.

Did you mistake these myelinated nerve fibers for cotton wool spots or retinal infiltrates? Many people do. They are whiter, larger and denser than cotton wool spots and are almost always connected to the optic disc. They are unlike retinal infiltrates in having no overlying vitreous haze.

To review the many other yellow-white things in the retina with which you could confuse myelinated nerve fibers, check out Yellow-White Things in the Retina.

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The Eyes Have It
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Originally created by Jonathan Trobe, M.D., University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center
© 2009 The Regents of the University of Michigan

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