Brain injury and neurological damage is the leading cause of vision impairment in infants and young children in the United States and other Western countries. In a review of thousands of records from the British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2.4% of the children seen in the clinic over the last 15 years had neurological vision impairments. So, neurological vision impairments diagnoses could be assumed to be common.
These numbers could be higher in current patients and may continue to rise as medical advancements allow doctors to treat smaller and younger micro-preemies as well as newborns with severe hypoxic brain injuries. The increased rate of survival of these at-risk babies will likely mean more neurological concerns, including epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and neurological vision impairments.
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Understanding Neurological Vision Impairments
In most cases, neurological vision impairments occur because of a perinatal hypoxic brain injury. A hypoxic brain injury happens when the brain does not receive adequate blood flow for some period of time. This can occur just before, during, or just after birth. It can also occur because of a drowning or choking incident in an older infant or toddler (acquired hypoxic brain injury).
There are a number of other causes of this type of global brain insult that can result in widespread neurological damage. This can include shaken baby syndrome and other types of abuse, metabolic conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and other birth injuries.
The primary thing that all these causes have in common is that they affect wide areas of the brain. A brain injury rarely affects only the areas of the brain used to process vision. Children with neurological vision impairments often have co-occurring conditions. This may include:
- Cognitive deficits
- Cerebral palsy
Some researchers and advocates for children with this type of impairment call it something else besides a neurological vision impairment. There is an ongoing debate about the most appropriate name for the condition. Other names include:
- Cortical visual impairment
- Cerebral visual impairment
- Retrogeniculate visual impairment
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Neurological Vision Impairment Affects All Children Differently
Neurological vision impairments occur because of a problem in the brain. There ocular structures are normal, the eye movements are normal, and there is more going on than a refractive error. Neurological vision impairments affect children differently, so it is important to have a thorough assessment completed by someone familiar with neurological vision impairments. Symptoms and severity can vary widely.
It is not uncommon for these babies and children to struggle to fix their eyes and follow an object, even when it is designed to get their attention. Many babies and children also fail to reach for objects, even when they have the physical capabilities to do so.
Your Child’s Neurological Vision Impairment May Be the Result of a Preventable Birth Injury
Most cases of neurological vision impairment occur because of a perinatal hypoxic brain injury. Many of these injuries are preventable. If you believe your child faces neurological vision impairment and/or other neurological concerns because of a preventable brain injury they sustained, you should reach out to an attorney in your state to discuss your case.
When you talk to an attorney about possibly taking action to hold the doctor or hospital liable, they can explain your rights and how you may be able to pursue compensation that includes:
- Current and future medical care costs related to your child’s injuries
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to your child’s care
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other types of damages based on the facts of your case
Each state has its own time limits for how long you can wait to file a lawsuit in a birth injury case. Your attorney can explain the statute of limitations that applies in your case and any laws that allow for tolling the statute of limitations in birth injury cases.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney Near You About Your Child’s Condition
If your child sustained a perinatal hypoxic brain injury and now has a neurological vision impairment and other neurological concerns such as cerebral palsy, cognitive deficits, or epilepsy, you may have a valid birth injury medical malpractice case. You may be able to hold the doctor or hospital who caused or failed to prevent your child’s birth injury responsible.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you connect with a lawyer in your state who will provide a free case review and handle your malpractice claim if you qualify to pursue legal action. Neurological vision impairments are more common than you might know, and every parent deserves the peace of mind that holding the party liable for their child’s brain injury responsible.
Call (800) 222-9529 now to learn more.