optic nerve


Definition of optic nerve 

: either of the second pair of cranial nerves that pass from the retina to the optic chiasma and conduct visual stimuli to the brain — see eye illustration

Examples of optic nerve in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Her cancer had spread from her left eye to her right optic nerve and spine, and around her brain and spinal cord, the legal complaint says. Daniel Chang, miamiherald, "'They killed my kid.' Parents sue renowned doctor, hospital after children die of cancer | Miami Herald," 21 May 2018 Glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve, normally starts with peripheral vision losses that sometimes aren't obvious to the patient. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Older drivers are linked to fatal crashes. Is 10 years too long between DMV eye exams? | Charlotte Observer," 16 May 2018 Biologically speaking, that light tricks the optic nerve into thinking it’s still time to be awake instead of allowing the natural release of melatonin and serotonin in the body to signal the end of the waking day. Katie Parsons, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Americans aren't sleeping enough, but early risers might live longer," 31 May 2018 About two weeks after Murray removed Salette's eye, a pathology report confirmed that the cancer had spread to her optic nerve. Daniel Chang, miamiherald, "'They killed my kid.' Parents sue renowned doctor, hospital after children die of cancer | Miami Herald," 21 May 2018 The tumor had done the most damage to her optic nerves, leaving her legally blind in her left eye and with only half the vision in her right. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Clinic, parents clash over girl's brain tumor treatment; court to decide," 13 May 2018 As the immune system gets weaker, this can lead to the formation of lesions that can occur anywhere in the brain, optic nerve or spinal cord. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Multiple sclerosis comes in many faces," 4 Apr. 2018 Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Mary Shannon Wells, Southern Living, "Mothers of SEC Players Who Make Us Stand Up And Cheer," 7 Apr. 2018 At the hospital, doctors performed an emergency surgery to fully remove what was left of my eyes in an attempt to preserve my optic nerves and to prevent infection. Elizabeth Narins, Cosmopolitan, "I'm the Girl Who Clawed Her Own Eyes Out. This Is My Story.," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'optic nerve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of optic nerve

1615, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about optic nerve

Share optic nerve

Dictionary Entries near optic nerve

optic disk


optic lobe

optic nerve




Statistics for optic nerve

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optic nerve

The first known use of optic nerve was in 1615

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for optic nerve

optic nerve


Medical Definition of optic nerve 

: either of the pair of sensory nerves that comprise the second pair of cranial nerves, arise from the ventral part of the diencephalon, form an optic chiasma before passing to the eye and spreading over the anterior surface of the retina, and conduct visual stimuli to the brain

called also second cranial nerve

More from Merriam-Webster on optic nerve

See words that rhyme with optic nerve

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about optic nerve

Comments on optic nerve

What made you want to look up optic nerve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!