Optic neuropathy refers to damage to the optic nerve due to any cause. Damage and death of these nerve cells, or neurons, leads to characteristic features of optic neuropathy. The main symptom is loss of vision, with colors appearing subtly washed out in the affected eye. On medical examination, the optic nerve head can be visualized by an ophthalmoscope. A pale disc is characteristic of long-standing optic neuropathy. In many cases, only one eye is affected and patients may not be aware of the loss of color vision until the doctor asks them to cover the healthy eye. Optic neuropathy is often called optic atrophy, to describe the loss of some or most of the fibers of the optic nerve. In medicine, "atrophy" usually means "shrunken but capable of regrowth", so some argue that "optic atrophy" as a pathological term is somewhat misleading, and the term ptic neuropathy" should be used instead. In short, optic atrophy is the end result of any disease that damages nerve cells anywhere between the retinal ganglion cells and the lateral geniculate body (anterior visual system).