Plasticity of visual systems after early brain damage has been extensively studied in animal models but poorly documented in children after visual pathway lesions. This report describes the visual recovery of a male child who had a bilateral occipital lobe infarction at the age of 2 years 6 months, 10 days after colon resection for Hirschsprung disease. In the acute phase he had severe visual impairment without visual response. Some weeks later he could perceive movement. Since then, progressive recovery of his visual acuity and oculomotor abilities has been accompanied by a progressive reduction of the visual field defect. At 6 years 8 months, visual recognition acuity was 10/10 in both eyes and neuro-ophthalmological examination was normal, except for persistence of the visual field defect in the upper hemifield and a selective impairment of higher visual functions (recognition of object presented in a hard-to-decode way [e.g. overlapping figures], or use of complex visuospatial skills). The functional recovery observed in this patient confirms the adaptive plasticity of developing visual systems after early brain lesions. It suggests that in humans, as in animal models, processes related to cerebral plasticity may take place years after a brain lesion has been sustained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health