Monday, January 30, 2012

Can't recognize faces? You may have a brain-related vision problem.

A study in the new issue of Optometry and Vision Science helps increase our understanding of how people recognize faces and why some people have difficulty with that task.

The authors looked at adults who had one eye removed while they were babies.  The study's results show that face perception is more difficult for adults that developed with the use of only one eye. The authors propose that vision connections in the brain may be reorganized in response to the removal of one eye and suggest that the visual system requires normal binocular vision  (two eyes working together) during development in order for brain areas associated with the perception of faces to fully mature.

The study has important implications for childhood vision care and suggests that vision problems during childhood development can have lasting impacts on brain development.  Optometrists routinely check for and treat conditions that can impact normal binocular vision such as amblyopia, strabismus and convergence insufficiency

It is important, critical even, for parents to have their children's eyes examined every year to ensure that such a condition does not go untreated.  Most of these conditions are easier to treat while the child is very young.  Optometrists can examine a child as young as six months to ensure that their eyes and visual system are developing properly and can then monitor potential problems as the child grows and develops.  If  problems materialize they can be treated effectively if caught early. If you are a parent, click here to review my childrens' vision guidelines. For more information on optometry for children, click here.