Volume 93, Issue 23

Thursday, October 7, 1999


BOG's dog race ready to begin

Trent students want out of CFS

McGill cracks down on cheating

Over the knee could equal out of your tree

Customer is casualty in airline wars

Study clears up vision question


Caught on Campus

Study clears up vision question

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

A recent study shows the eyesight of infants develops more from nurture than nature.

The medical world has gained some insight into what causes the rapid development of vision in human infants, thanks to a six-year study from researchers at McMaster University and The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto.

Daphne Moore, visual scientist at McMaster and principal investigator of the study, said the findings prove it is visual stimulation, not natural brain development which allows for the maturation of an infant's vision.

"The researchers performed the study at The Hospital For Sick Children on 28 babies who had one or both cataracts removed in their eyes," Moore said. She explained cataracts form in the lens of the eye, blocking eyesight and blurring focus.

Moore stated each patient's vision was measured immediately after being fitted with contact lenses. The patients were further tested on a regular basis following the surgery.

"The results of the study show that once fitted with the contacts, the babies immediately have the eyesight of a newborn and their visual improvement increases rapidly in the short time following the surgery," Moore said. "This proves that an infant's brain has a pre-programmed architecture that is ready to receive and respond to visual input.

Hubert Drouin, executive director of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society said he approved of the study. "Any study that has the potential to influence the quality of life for young patients shows we're headed in the right direction," he said.

London optometrist Cheryl Letheren said the study was also important for mothers and doctors on a more fundamental level.

"In the nature versus nurture debate, we now know that eyesight involves more nurture then we previously expected," Letheren said. "The social implications show the importance of stimulation at a young age in order for proper development of the eye."

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