Congenital blindness is protective for schizophrenia and other psychotic illness. A whole-population study

Schizophr Res. 2018 Dec;202:414-416. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.061. Epub 2018 Jul 7.


Congenital/early blindness is reportedly protective against schizophrenia. Using a whole-population cohort of 467,945 children born in Western Australia between 1980 and 2001, we examined prevalence of schizophrenia and psychotic illness in individuals with congenital/early blindness. Overall, 1870 children developed schizophrenia (0.4%) while 9120 developed a psychotic illness (1.9%). None of the 66 children with cortical blindness developed schizophrenia or psychotic illness. Eight of the 613 children with peripheral blindness developed a psychotic illness other than schizophrenia and fewer had developed schizophrenia. Our results support findings from small case studies that congenital/early cortical but not peripheral blindness is protective against schizophrenia.

Keywords: Congenital blindness; Cortical blindness; Peripheral blindness; Psychotic disorders; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blindness / congenital*
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness, Cortical / congenital
  • Blindness, Cortical / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Registries*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Western Australia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult