The critical period for early visual experience

Learn about: The critical period for early visual experience from Kenneth Wright, MD,...
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The critical period for early visual experience

Our early visual experience is critical. A newborn baby is born with very poor vision. They barely can see a mother's face. Often a mom will think, "Oh, he's smiling at me." You know what, it's usually gas. It's not that they see you very well at birth. Quickly, over the next three to four weeks, visual acuity starts developing. That visual acuity, that vision, is developing in response to a clear image coming in. That clear image coming in stimulates brain centers to develop a vision. That network can be high resolution or low resolution, depending on the vision. That baby needs visual stimulation for the brain to develop. A cataract in a newborn baby, if it's a dense cataract and obscures the vision, it will retard and actually damage brain development. That was shown years ago, in the animal model. They would take an animal and blur the vision -- I didn't do these things, and I don't like animal testing. These were already done, many years ago. The brain did not develop in visual areas. The bottom line is, yes, it is critical. We call it the critical period of visual development. The first eight weeks of life, clear image is really important to stimulate brain development.
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Learn about: The critical period for early visual experience from Kenneth Wright, MD,...


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Kenneth Wright, MD

Pediatric Ophthalmologist

A caring physician, Dr. Kenneth Wright is devoted to the health of children’s eyes. He is an internationally respected pediatric ophthalmologist, and is included in “The Best Doctors in America” and “Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care.”  Dr. Wright is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the USC Keck School of Medicine.  He has developed novel surgical techniques for pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.  Dr. Wright received his medical degree from Boston University and fellowships in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus at Johns-Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and Children’s Hospital, Washington, DC.  Following his fellowships, he then accepted a full-time faculty member position at USC School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles where he served for 10 years.  He was later appointed Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, before returning home to Los Angeles to establish a pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus center of excellence.  

Dr. Wright has authored of over 100 published scientific papers, seven textbooks including his renowned textbook, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and has lectured worldwide.  He founded the non-profit Wright Foundation with a mission to reduce blindness and suffering in children with eye disorders through research, education, and clinical care. He has established a pediatric eye clinic for underprivileged children.  Important to the Wright Center is the principle that patient care always comes first.  

An interesting personal note is that Dr. Wright’s youngest son developed crossed eyes as an infant requiring surgery and Dr. Wright operated on his own son.  The outcome was excellent and years later his son served in the United States Marine Corps as a top marksman.

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