Visual Function in Children

Retinal disease that causes deficits of central and peripheral vision in infants and young children is a recognized accompaniment of several disorders in which mental retardation and developmental disability are also prominent and is an independent cause of developmental disturbances. Young age and limited abilities had interfered with quantitative assessment of visual acuity, retinal sensitivity and retinal adaptor processes in these patients. Dr. Ann Fulton developed procedures that depend on modifying the child's looking behavior with visual stimuli and used these methods to begin evaluation of visual function in children with recognized retinal and brain disorders. Using these procedures and complementary electrophysiological techniques, Fulton also discovered retinal malfunction in several newly described groups of children with progressive neurological degeneration (Arch Ophthalmol 2002, Arch Ophthalmol 2005). The results indicated that retinal malfunction as well as central nervous system abnormalities compromises the visual abilities of these children. This work has been developed considerably over the past 10 years by Fulton in this IDDRC, particularly re: retinopathy of prematurity (Invest Opthalmolo Vis Sci 2002, OptomVis Sci 2005).