Visual function in the brain-damaged child

Eye (Lond). 2003 Apr;17(3):369-84. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6700364.


The essential role of the primary visual cortex in visual processing has been extensively studied over the last century or more. Injuries to the visual cortex in adult humans can produce blindness, referred to as "cortical blindness". In children some degree of visual recovery has been noted in comparable injuries and for that reason the term "cortical visual impairment" has been suggested as a more appropriate diagnosis in children. This term is, however, inaccurate as a significant number of children with visual loss and neurologic damage have injuries to the noncerebral pathways (for example--optic radiations in children with periventricular leukomalacia). In this study we compare visual outcomes and recovery in children with primary visual cortex lesions vs those with periventricular leukomalacia. We suggest that the poorer outcomes of children with periventricular leukomalacia could have been predicted based on studies of the mechanisms of visual recovery in infant animals following visual cortex ablation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness, Cortical / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / complications
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / complications
  • Prognosis
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology