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NINDS Septo-Optic Dysplasia Information Page

Synonym(s):  De Morsier's Syndrome

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What is Septo-Optic Dysplasia?

Septo-optic dysplasia (SOD) is a rare disorder characterized by abnormal development of the optic disk, pituitary deficiencies, and often agenesis (absence) of the septum pellucidum (the part of the brain that separates the anterior horns or the lateral ventricles of the brain). Symptoms may include blindness in one or both eyes, pupil dilation in response to light, nystagmus (a rapid, involuntary to-and-fro movement of the eyes), inward and outward deviation of the eyes, hypotonia (low muscle tone), and hormonal problems. Seizures may also occur. In a few cases, jaundice (prolonged yellow skin discoloration) may occur at birth. Intellectual problems vary in severity among individuals. While some children with SOD have normal intelligence, others have learning disabilities. Most, however, are developmentally delayed due to vision impairment or neurological problems.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment for SOD is symptomatic. Hormone deficiencies may be treated with hormone replacement therapy. The optical problems associated with SOD are generally not treatable. Vision, physical, and occupational therapies may be required.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for individuals with SOD varies according to the presence and severity of symptoms.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports and conducts neurogenetic research which focuses on identifying and studying the genes involved in normal brain development. The knowledge gained from these fundamental studies provides the foundation for understanding how this process can go awry and, thus, may eventually give clues to understanding disorders such as SOD.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Septo-Optic Dysplasia Clinical Trials


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March of Dimes
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White Plains, NY 10605
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National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
Tel: 301-496-5248

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 9A06 MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: 301-496-3583 TTY: 866-569-1162

FOCUS Families
228 E. Palomino Court
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Tel: 866-FOCUS-50 (866-362-8750)
Fax: 866-362-8750

Magic Foundation [Growth Disorders]
6645 West North Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
Tel: 708-383-0808 800-3-MAGIC3 (362-4423)
Fax: 708-383-0899

Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last Modified June 30, 2015