We have recently demonstrated that neural stem cell-based intravitreal co-administration of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) confers profound protection to injured retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in a mouse optic nerve crush model, resulting in the survival of ~38% RGCs two months after the nerve lesion. Here, we analyzed whether this neuroprotective effect is long-lasting and studied the impact of the pronounced RGC rescue on axonal regeneration. To this aim, we co-injected a GDNF- and a CNTF-overexpressing neural stem cell line into the vitreous cavity of adult mice one day after an optic nerve crush and determined the number of surviving RGCs 4, 6 and 8 months after the lesion. Remarkably, we found no significant decrease in the number of surviving RGCs between the successive analysis time points, indicating that the combined administration of GDNF and CNTF conferred lifelong protection to injured RGCs. While the simultaneous administration of GDNF and CNTF stimulated pronounced intraretinal axon growth when compared to retinas treated with either factor alone, numbers of regenerating axons in the distal optic nerve stumps were similar in animals co-treated with both factors and animals treated with CNTF only.