Cerebral Palsy and Vision Problems: How Cerebral Palsy Affects Your Child’s Vision July 11, 2024.

Cerebral Palsy and Vision Problems: How Cerebral Palsy Affects Your Child’s Vision

According to the Mayo Clinic, cerebral palsy is a collection of health problems that are caused by damage to a baby's developing brain either before or during birth. As a result, children with CP often experience muscle spasms, difficulty with motor skills, and poor vision.

We explore the latter below and how a qualified Ohio birth injury lawyer can help your family navigate holding negligent medical providers responsible for your child’s injuries.

What Causes Vision Problems in Children With Cerebral Palsy?

The part of the brain that is primarily responsible for vision is the occipital lobe, which is located in the back of the head above the brainstem. The parietal lobe also plays a role and allows children to develop spatial awareness and gauge the distance between different objects.

Finally, the temporal lobe helps children attach meaning to what they see. When the brain tissue in these areas becomes damaged due to lack of oxygen, it can severely affect a child's ability to see and control their eye muscles.

Potential Issues to Look Out For

Here are a few of the most common vision problems experienced by children with CP:

Eye Muscle Defects

Because cerebral palsy affects the body's muscles, children can develop a condition called strabismus, where the muscles of one or both eyes cannot work properly. This is when the eyes look in different directions and can be treated with visual correction, therapy, and surgery.

Strabismus can be exotropic, meaning that one or both eyes look outward, or esotropic, where the eyes look in towards the bridge of the nose. This can happen with both eyes open or may only happen when one eye is covered.

Poor Visual Acuity 

Children living with cerebral palsy often have decreased visual acuity in the form of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism. When combined with existing challenges with communication and mobility, poor vision can stunt a child's critical development.

It's important that parents don't wait to have their child's vision checked until they have symptoms if they have already been diagnosed with CP. More than 75% of children with this condition also need glasses, eye surgery, and other visual interventions, so getting ahead of the curve can help set your child up for success.

Color Blindness

It's also common for children with cerebral palsy to experience decreased color vision. Contrary to popular belief, colorblindness isn't simply the inability to see color. There are several categories under which a child with CP can fall, including:

Red/Green Deficiency 

  1. Deuteranomaly: This mild form causes some shades of green to appear red
  2. Protanomaly: This causes some shades of red to appear dull or green
  3. Deuteranopia and Protanopia: These conditions eliminate the ability to identify the difference between green and red

Blue/Yellow Deficiency

  1. Tritanomaly: This results in confusion between shades of red and yellow as well as shades of green and blue
  2. Tritanopia: This makes colors look dull and children can have difficulty telling the difference between pink and yellow, green and blue, or red and purple

Complete Color Deficiency

  1. Achromatopsia/Monochromacy: This is complete color blindness and results in black and white vision

Light Sensitivity

Children with cerebral palsy vision problems are also often affected by light sensitivity. This is called photophobia and can cause symptoms like eye watering, tearing in the sunlight, squinting, excessive crying, and complaints of headaches in toddlers and older children.

Next Steps to Take

If you suspect that your child has vision problems related to their cerebral palsy or believe that your child might have otherwise been injured during labor and delivery, you should take swift action to protect them.

First, contact your child’s doctors and get copies of their medical records. Keep detailed notes about what symptoms your child is experiencing and how it affects your daily lives. This can help you advocate for the best possible outcome for your family.

How to Get Compassionate and Caring Legal Representation After Your Child Is Injured During Birth 

Life can change in a single moment when your child is born with an injury. If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you suspect it may be related to their traumatic birth, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an experienced Cleveland birth injury attorney as soon as you can.

At The Mellino Law Firm, we will go over your case in detail to determine if medical negligence played a role in your child’s birth and development of cerebral palsy. Contact us today to book your free consultation by calling (440) 333-3800.