H47.21 - Primary optic atrophy

Version 2023
ICD-10:H47.21
Short Description:Primary optic atrophy
Long Description:Primary optic atrophy
Status: Not Valid for Submission
Version:ICD-10-CM 2023
Code Classification:
  • Diseases of the eye and adnexa (H00–H59)
    • Disorders of optic nerve and visual pathways (H46-H47)
      • Other disorders of optic [2nd] nerve and visual pathways (H47)

H47.21 is a non-specific and non-billable ICD-10 code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of primary optic atrophy. The code is not specific and is NOT valid for the year 2023 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions. Category or Header define the heading of a category of codes that may be further subdivided by the use of 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th characters.

Clinical Information

Specific Coding for Primary optic atrophy

Non-specific codes like H47.21 require more digits to indicate the appropriate level of specificity. Consider using any of the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity when coding for primary optic atrophy:

  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H47.211 for Primary optic atrophy, right eye
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H47.212 for Primary optic atrophy, left eye
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H47.213 for Primary optic atrophy, bilateral
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use H47.219 for Primary optic atrophy, unspecified eye

Index to Diseases and Injuries References

The Index to Diseases and Injuries is an alphabetical listing of medical terms, with each term mapped to one or more ICD-10 code(s). The following references for this diagnosis code are found in the injuries and diseases index:

Patient Education


Optic Nerve Disorders

The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that carry visual messages. You have one connecting the back of each eye (your retina) to your brain. Damage to an optic nerve can cause vision loss. The type of vision loss and how severe it is depends on where the damage occurs. It may affect one or both eyes.

There are many different types of optic nerve disorders, including:

Contact your health care provider if you are having vision problems. Tests for optic nerve disorders may include eye exams, ophthalmoscopy (an examination of the back of your eye), and imaging tests. Treatment depends on which disorder that you have. With some optic nerve disorders, you may get your vision back. With others, there is no treatment, or treatment may only prevent further vision loss.


[Learn More in MedlinePlus]

Optic atrophy type 1

Optic atrophy type 1 is a condition that often causes slowly worsening vision, usually beginning in childhood. People with optic atrophy type 1 typically experience a narrowing of their field of vision (tunnel vision). Affected individuals gradually lose their sight as their field of vision becomes smaller. Both eyes are usually affected equally, but the severity of the vision loss varies widely, even among affected members of the same family, ranging from nearly normal vision to complete blindness.

In addition to vision loss, people with optic atrophy type 1 frequently have problems with color vision (color vision deficiency) that make it difficult or impossible to distinguish between shades of blue and green.

In the early stages of the condition, individuals with optic atrophy type 1 experience a progressive loss of certain cells within the retina, which is a specialized light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. The loss of these cells (known as retinal ganglion cells) is followed by the degeneration (atrophy) of the nerves that relay visual information from the eye to the brain (optic nerves), which results in further vision loss. Atrophy causes these nerves to have an abnormally pale appearance (pallor), which can be seen during an eye examination.


[Learn More in MedlinePlus]

Code History