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Neural Plasticity
Volume 9 (2002), Issue 1, Pages 1-25

Vision After Early-Onset Lesions of the Occipital Cortex: I. Neuropsychological and Psychophysical Studies

1Institut de Biologie Cellulaire et de Morphologie, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
2Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Geneva, Switzerland
3Dept. of Radiology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland
4Dept. of Pediatric Neurology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland
5Division of Neuroanatomy and Brain Development, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm S-17177, Sweden
6Institute of Neuroinformatics, University/ ETH Zürich, Winterthurerstr 190, Zürich 8057, Switzerland

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We analyzed the visual functions of two patients (MS, FJ) with bilateral lesion of the primary visual cortex, which occurred at gestational age 33 wk in MS and at postnatal month 7 in FJ. In both patients basic visual functions— visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, color, form, motion perception—are similarly preserved or modestly impaired. Functions requiring higher visual processing, particularly figure-ground segregation based on textural cues, are severely impaired. In MS, studied longitudinally, the deficits attenuated between the ages of 4.5 and 8 y, suggesting that the developing visual system can display a considerable degree of adaptive plasticity several years after the occurrence of a lesion. In FJ (age 18:9 to 20:6 y), who is more impaired, the recovery, if any, was less.