Septo-Optic Dysplasia

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What is septo-optic dysplasia?

Septo-optic dysplasia (SOD), previously known as de Morsier syndrome, is a rare disorder of development that involves the septum pellucidum—the thin membrane located between the two cerebral hemispheres (halves of the brain)—as well as the eyes and the pituitary gland.

SOD causes optic nerve abnormalities and affects the optic disc located at the back of the eye, where the optic nerve meets the retina. The pituitary gland produces hormones that regulate other bodily functions. In people living with SOD, the septum pellucidum may be missing.

Symptoms include:

  • Loss of eyesight in one or both eyes
  • Pupils that get bigger in the light
  • An uncontrollably fast side-to-side movement of the eyes
  • Eyes that turn towards or away from the nose
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Problems with hormones (chemicals in the body)
  • Development delays from eyesight or neurologic problems

Symptoms are different for each person. Treatment focuses on the symptoms. Some people may need physical, vision, and occupational therapy.

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one improve care for people with septo-optic dysplasia?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about SOD and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with SOD at

Where can I find more information about septo-optic dysplasia?

Information may be available from the following resources:

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center


Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.