Scientific Questions:

  •  How recoverable is motion perception after treatment in infants with congenital eye disorders?
  • Are Very-Preterm Infants at a disadvantage for visual maturation?

The specific hypothesis underling the work described thus far is that visual abilities might be enhanced or altered in deaf individuals who have heightened use of vision and in preterm infants who had “additional” visual experience.  Infants and children who had congenital visual disorders that distort visual input early in life typically have impaired visual processing.  Studying populations who had a period of early congenital visual diseases can address the vulnerability of various aspects of visual and cognitive processing to abnormal visual experience early in development, and how well they are able to recover after restoration of normal visual input.   My postdoctoral fellowship at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, University of Texas, Southwestern focused upon the ability of infants and children to recover visual function following treatment of anomalous binocular visual input, such as in the case of strabismus (i.e., crossed eyes) in which each eye receives a different image, or anisometropia, in which one eye has a blurrier image than the other (Bosworth & Birch, in submission; Bosworth & Birch, 2005, 2007; Birch, Felius, Stager, Weakley & Bosworth, 2004).

In collaboration with doctors in the Ratner Children’s Eye Center at UCSD, my colleagues and I examined visual function longitudinally in very preterm infants with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which is a condition that disrupts the photoreceptors in the eye (Bosworth, Robbins, Granet, & Dobkins, 2013).   Children who were very premature (born more than 9 weeks early) may show visual and cognitive deficits, possibly even lasting into adolescence, with additional deficits seen in those who had a history of ocular or neural complications at birth.  This work may have clinical implications for therapies that could improve long-term outcomes for individuals born prematurely.


Relevant Publications:

Birch EE, Felius J, Stager, DR, Weakley, DR, & Bosworth RG  (2004). Pre-operative stability of infantile esotropia and post-operative outcome.  American Journal of Ophthalmology, 138, 1003-9.

Hoffman, DR, Theuer, RC, Castaneda, YS, Wheaton, DH, Bosworth, RG, O’Connor, AR, Morale, SE, Wiedemann, L.E., & Birch, EE (2004). Maturation of visual acuity is accelerated in breast-fed term infants fed baby food containing DHA-enriched egg yolk. Journal of Nutrition, 134 (9), 2307-2313.

Birch, EE & Bosworth, RG (2005). Visual evoked potentials in infants and children. Chapter in M. J Aminoff (Ed.).  Electrodiagnosis in Clinical Neurology, 5th Edition.  New York: Churchill-Livingstone, pp.439-450.

Bosworth, RG & Birch, EE (2005). Motion detection in normal infants and young patients with infantile esotropia.  Vision Research 45(12).  1557-1567.

Bosworth, RG & Birch, EE (2007). Nasal-temporal asymmetries in motion detection and motion VEP in normal infants and young patients with infantile esotropia. Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology & Vision Science, 48(12), 5523-5531.

Bosworth, RG, Robbins, SL, Granet, DB & Dobkins, KR (2013).  Delayed luminance and chromatic contrast sensitivity in infants with Retinopathy of Prematurity. Documenta Ophthalmologica, 127(1), 57-68.