The clinical management of glaucoma and optic neuropathies has traditionally focused on stages of the diseases at which there are congruent losses of visual function and optic nerve tissue. Increasing clinical and experimental evidence suggests that the electrical activity of retinal ganglion cells, as measured by pattern electroretinogram (PERG), may be altered long before measurable changes in the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer. In addition, PERG alterations in early glaucoma may be either reversed by lowering the intraocular pressure or induced with head-down body posture. Here we apply the well-known concept of neural plasticity to model the reversible/inducible changes of retinal ganglion cell electrical activity during a critical period of dysfunction preceding death. Identification and characterization of this stage of modifiable retinal ganglion cell function represents both a rationale and a target for treatment to change the natural history of the disease.