Revisiting visual dysfunctions in schizophrenia from the retina to the cortical cells: A manifestation of defective neurodevelopment

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Oct 1:62:29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.04.007. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


This review highlights morphological and functional anomalies found along the entire visual pathway in schizophrenia, from the retina to the cortex. Based on the evidence of widespread anatomical and functional visual abnormalities, we posited that a neurodevelopmental anomaly occurring early in life was likely to explain those. Incidentally, support to the neurodevelopmental theory of schizophrenia is strongly emerging from many neurobiological domains. In vertebrates, the first visual structures migrate toward the orbit position at the end of the fourth week of gestation. A neurodevelopmental defect around that time on these embryonic structures could account for the visual anomalies in schizophrenia. Retinol activity might be involved in the process. Future research in schizophrenia should focus on early visual testing, on trials combining multiple visual anomaly assessments and a closer look to retinol activity during the pregnancy.

Keywords: Neurodevelopment; Retina; Schizophrenia; Visual system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retina / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology