Sunday, December 6, 2020

Visual Perception in Kids with Epilepsy


Brain surgery for epilepsy in kids is sometimes necessary to stop seizures and allow children to function. However, brain surgery carries significant risks, including impairment in visual perception. Normal visual function requires not just information sent from the eye, but also image and neurological processing in the brain that allows us to understand and act on that information, or perception. Signals from the eye are first processed in the early visual cortex, a region at the back of the brain that is necessary for sight. They then travel through other parts of the cerebral cortex, enabling recognition of patterns, faces, objects, scenes, and written words. In adults, even if their sight is still present, injury or removal of even a small area of the brain’s vision processing centers can lead to dramatic, permanent loss of perception, making them unable to recognize faces, locations, or to read, for example. But in children, who are still developing, this part of the brain appears able to rewire itself, a process known as plasticity.

According to a study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), due to this neuroplasticity, children can keep full visual perception—the ability to process and understand visual information—after brain surgery for severe epilepsy. Plasticity is a sort of “rewiring” process that can occur in children because they are still developing.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.