It is well understood that eyesight undergoes significant and dramatic development in the first few years of life. Newborn babies can only focus on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face, but after only a month they can track moving objects as the eyes start to work together. Within five months, depth perception and color vision start to develop, and it doesn’t take long for everything else to fall into place.
It has long been believed that this type of development between the brain and the eyes was complete after the first few years of life, but a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience now suggests that vision may very well develop until midlife. Kathryn Murphy, a professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, led a team of researchers to examine the postmortem brain tissue of 30 people in order to analyze the development of the brain’s primary visual cortex.
This research revealed that some components of the brain’s visual-processing center actually continue to mature until about 40 years old. According to Murphy, “There’s a big gap in our understanding of how our brains function. Our idea of sensory areas developing in childhood and then being static is part of the challenge. It’s not correct.”
Murphy’s research results could have major implications for the treatment of lazy eye in adults. Amblyopia treatment is usually only attempted in children since it has long been assumed that the visual cortex in an adult brain lacks the plasticity and flexibility required to respond to treatment. If Murphy’s research holds true, eye doctors can begin to update their lazy eye treatment methods in adults to minimize the need for surgery.
Adults and children alike with lazy eye can call (813) 876-1400 to schedule an appointment with Guggino Eye in Tampa Bay. Dr. Guggino is an experienced pediatric eye doctor who uses state-of-the-art care to ensure optimal results.