Regeneration of retinal axons in the lizard Gallotia galloti is not linked to generation of new retinal ganglion cells.
Crushing or freezing the optic nerve of the viper leads initially to the anterograde degeneration of the optic nerve fibers and to an extensive retrograde demyelination process associated with the degeneration of some retinal ganglion cells. By the 45th postoperative day, regenerating unmyelinated axons can be identified in the damaged region of the optic nerve. These fibers reach the chiasm and the marginal optic tract by the third postoperative month. The radioautographic tracing method shows that some nuclei of the primary visual system begin to be reinnervated by about the 5th postoperative month; this reinnervation was not, however, completely restored in those specimens with the longest postoperative survival of 220 days.