Cerebral palsy vision impairments include ocular disorders, oculomotor abnormalities, and visuoperceptual difficulties. According to a study published in BMC Ophthalmology, between 50 and 90 percent of children with cerebral palsy also have some type of visual impairment or abnormality. The type and severity of the problem are directly related to the area of the brain where injuries occurred and the extent of the damage to that area of the brain. Doctors can address many of these vision impairments through glasses, surgery, or other treatments.
Babies born with cerebral palsy may be more likely to suffer vision impairments because many of the causes of cerebral palsy can also cause problems with vision. This includes premature birth, hypoxic birth injuries, fetal stroke, certain developmental problems during gestation, infections in the mother or baby, and traumatic brain injuries.
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Common Vision Impairments in Children with Cerebral Palsy
Visual differences and vision loss can occur with any type of cerebral palsy and vary widely in severity. Some types of vision impairments that occur in individuals with cerebral palsy include:
Ocular disorders that are commonly seen in children with cerebral palsy include:
- Refractive errors including myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Some types of minor ocular abnormalities
Some individuals with cerebral palsy may have significant issues controlling eye movement or focusing because of unwanted eye movements. In the past, testing may have determined these children had profound vision impairments and were essentially “blind” when, in fact, there was a motor control problem with their eyes instead of a problem with the eye itself.
In some cases, it is not the eye causing problems but a problem related to how the brain receives and translates visual images. This may include:
- Problems with visual object recognition
- Issues with visuospatial skills
- Weak visual memory
Cortical visual impairment is a common cause of vision issues in children with cerebral palsy and other types of perinatal brain injuries. This condition causes a number of problems with vision because of the areas of the brain affected. There is no problem with the eyes themselves, although other conditions can co-occur.
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Assessing and Addressing Vision Impairments in Children With Cerebral Palsy
It is imperative that children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders receive an early assessment of their vision. This should include testing to understand any type of vision impairment, including ocular, oculomotor, and visuoperceptual impairments. A thorough assessment and early diagnosis that identifies all causes of vision problems is necessary to plan for appropriate treatment.
A child’s sight is important when helping them build muscle strength and motor skills, and helping them to learn to communicate if speech is not possible. Children who already require occupational therapy to master self-care skills may struggle even more if they have unaddressed vision impairments.
In many cases, there are treatments available to address vision impairments. This may include surgery, glasses, other medical treatments to address physical issues and early intervention and therapy to improve cerebral visual impairments.
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You May Be Eligible to File a Birth Injury Case on Behalf of Your Child
A cerebral palsy diagnosis, with or without vision impairments, could support a medical malpractice case in some instances. An attorney who regularly handles birth injury cases can review your case for free and help you understand if you should take legal action.
You may have a case against your child’s doctor, the hospital, or another medical care provider if:
- They failed to prevent a preventable birth injury.
- Your child did not get a timely and accurate diagnosis.
- They failed to assess your child’s vision.
- They failed to prescribe an effective treatment for your child’s vision impairment.
- They otherwise committed medical negligence.
An attorney near you can look into what happened to your child and help you build a case against the medical care providers involved. Every state has its own time limits for how long you can wait to take legal action, so you should contact a birth injury attorney in your state soon.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney Near You About Your Case
Most birth injury attorneys will review the case of a child with cerebral palsy vision impairments for free. An attorney who regularly handles medical malpractice cases in your state can determine if you have grounds for legal action and help you build a case.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for help now at (800) 222-9529.