Disease at a Glance

Summary
Dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is an inherited optic nerve disorder characterized by degeneration of the optic nerves. It typically starts during the first decade of life. Affected people usually develop moderate visual loss and color vision defects. The severity varies and visual acuity can range from normal to legal blindness. About 20% of people with DOA have non-ocular features, such as sensorineural hearing loss; myopathy; peripheral neuropathy; multiple sclerosis-like illness; and spastic paraplegia (impaired function of the legs). These cases may be referred to as 'DOA plus.' DOA is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and may be caused by a genetic change in any of several genes, some of which have not been identified.

About Dominant optic atrophy

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for Dominant optic atrophy:

  • Population Estimate:In the US, there are less than 50,000 with this disease.
  • Symptoms:May start to appear as a Child.
  • Experts:Patient organizations are available to help find a specialist for this condition.
  • Organizations:Organizations specific to this condition are available to help find support. 
  • Categories:Inherited Metabolic DiseaseGenetic Disease
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
The most common ages for symptoms of a disease to begin is called age of onset. Age of onset can vary for different diseases and may be used by a doctor to determine the diagnosis. For some diseases, symptoms may begin in a single age range or several age ranges. For other diseases, symptoms may begin any time during a person's life.
Prenatal
Before Birth
Newborn
Birth-4 weeks
Infant
1-23 months
Child Selected
2-11 years
Adolescent
12-18 years
Adult
19-65 years
Older Adult
65+ years
Symptoms may start to appear as a Child.

Symptoms

This information is currently in development. 

Causes

This section is currently in development. 

Inheritance

All individuals inherit two copies of most genes. The number of copies of a gene that need to have a disease-causing variant affects the way a disease is inherited. This disease is inherited in the following pattern(s):

Autosomal dominant inheritance

Autosomal means the gene is located on any chromosome except the X or Y chromosomes (sex chromosomes). Genes, like chromosomes, usually come in pairs. Dominant means that only one copy of the responsible gene (causal gene) must have a disease-causing change (pathogenic variant) in order for a person to have the disease. Mutation is an older term that is still sometimes used to mean pathogenic variant.

In some cases, a person inherits the pathogenic variant from a parent who has the genetic disease. In other cases, the disease occurs because of a new pathogenic variant (de novo) in the causal gene and there is no family history of the disease.

Each child of an individual with an autosomal dominant disease has a 50% (1 in 2) chance of inheriting the variant and the disease. Typically, children who inherit a dominant variant will have the disease, but they may be more or less severely impacted than their parent. Sometimes a person may have a pathogenic variant for an autosomal dominant disease and show no signs or symptoms of the disease.
Autosomal means the gene is located on any chromosome except the X or Y chromosomes (sex chromosomes). Genes, like chromosomes, usually come in pairs. Dominant means that only one copy of the responsible gene (causal gene) must have a disease-causing change (pathogenic variant) in order for a person to have the disease. Mutation is an older term that is still sometimes used to mean pathogenic variant.

In some cases, a person inherits the pathogenic variant from a parent who has the genetic disease. In other cases, the disease occurs because of a new pathogenic variant (de novo) in the causal gene and there is no family history of the disease.

Each child of an individual with an autosomal dominant disease has a 50% (1 in 2) chance of inheriting the variant and the disease. Typically, children who inherit a dominant variant will have the disease, but they may be more or less severely impacted than their parent. Sometimes a person may have a pathogenic variant for an autosomal dominant disease and show no signs or symptoms of the disease.
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Advocacy and Support Groups

How can a patient organization be helpful?

Patient advocacy and support organizations offer many valuable services and often drive the research and development of treatments for their disease(s). Because these organizations include the life experiences of many different people who have a specific disease, they may best understand the resources needed by those in their community. Although missions of organizations may differ, services may include, but are not limited to:
 

  • Ways to connect to others and share personal stories
  • Easy-to-read information
  • Latest treatment and research information
  • Lists of specialists or specialty centers
  • Financial aid and travel resources
Please note: GARD provides the names of patient organizations for informational purposes only and not as an endorsement of their services. Please contact the organization directly if you have questions about the information or resources they provide.

What do disease-specific organizations do?

Some organizations build a community of patients and families impacted by a specific disease or group of related diseases. These organizations usually have more disease-specific information and services, including helping new members find others who have the same disease.

What do organizations that focus on a medical condition do?

Some organizations build a community of patients and families impacted by a medical condition, like epilepsy, or related conditions, like heart problems, that may also be a symptom in other diseases. These organizations usually have information and services focused more on the medical condition(s), but may also have information about associated diseases.

What do umbrella organizations do?

Rare disease umbrella organizations focus on improving the lives of all those impacted by rare diseases through education and advocacy efforts. Umbrella organizations provide a range of services for patients, families, and disease-specific organizations.

Patient Organizations

7 Organizations

Organization Name

Organization Type

Service

Country

Language

Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy Association
https://www.adoaa.org/
Disease Specific

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Country

United States

Language

English

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
https://www.umdf.org
Disease Specific

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Research

Specialist

Country

United States

Language

English

Disease Specific

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Research

Specialist

Country

United States

Language

English

EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases
https://everylifefoundation.org/
Umbrella

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Country

United States

Language

English

Spanish

Umbrella

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Country

United States

Language

English

Umbrella

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Country

United States

Language

English

National Organization for Rare Disorders
https://rarediseases.org/
Umbrella

Dominant Optic Atrophy

Service

Information

Research

Country

United States

Language

English

Spanish

7 Organizations

Research

Why is Research Important for Rare Diseases?

Research increases what we know about rare diseases so that people can get a diagnosis more quickly and can know what to expect. Research also helps doctors better understand how well a treatment works and can lead to new treatment discoveries. It may even help improve diagnosis and treatment of more common diseases.

How do you find the right clinical study?

  • Discuss the clinical study with a trusted medical provider before enrolling
  • Review the "Study Description," which discusses the purpose of the study, and "Eligibility Criteria," which lists who can and cannot participate in the study
  • Work with the research coordinator to review the written informed consent, including the risks and benefits of the study
  • Inquire about the specific treatments and procedures, location of the study, number of visits, and time obligation
  • Determine whether health insurance is required and whether there are costs to the participant for the medical care, travel, and lodging
  • Ask questions. Remember, it is okay to decide not to participate in research

For More Information

How do you find the right clinical study?

  • Discuss the clinical study with a trusted medical provider before enrolling
  • Review the "Study Description," which discusses the purpose of the study, and "Eligibility Criteria," which lists who can and cannot participate in the study
  • Work with the research coordinator to review the written informed consent, including the risks and benefits of the study
  • Inquire about the specific treatments and procedures, location of the study, number of visits, and time obligation
  • Determine whether health insurance is required and whether there are costs to the participant for the medical care, travel, and lodging
  • Ask questions. Remember, it is okay to decide not to participate in research

For More Information

ClinicalTrials.gov provides current information on clinical research studies in the United States and abroad. Talk to a trusted doctor before choosing to participate in any clinical study. Check this site often for new trials that become available.
Please contact GARD if you need help. Our Information Specialists can help you find a clinical trial and answer questions about rare diseases. GARD cannot enroll individuals in clinical trials.
ClinicalTrials.gov provides current information on clinical research studies in the United States and abroad. Talk to a trusted doctor before choosing to participate in any clinical study. Check this site often for new trials that become available.
Please contact GARD if you need help. Our Information Specialists can help you find a clinical trial and answer questions about rare diseases. GARD cannot enroll individuals in clinical trials.

Take steps toward getting a diagnosis by working with your doctor, finding the right specialists, and coordinating medical care.

Last Updated: February 2023