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December 1958

Mental Development of Children with Blindness Due to Retrolental Fibroplasia

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
Department of Pediatrics, University of California at Los Angeles (Dr. Parmelee); Field Service for Blind Preschool Children, California School for the Blind (Dr. Cutsforth); Dallas Services for Blind Children, Dallas, Texas; Formerly of the Field Service for Blind Preschool Children, California School for the Blind (Miss Jackson).

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1958;96(6):641-654. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1958.02060060643001

It has been amply demonstrated that some children who are blind as a result of retrolental fibroplasia have normal mental development,1,2 and there is some evidence that the majority of these children have normal mental development.2-5 On the other hand, other observers have noted a high incidence of mental retardation associated with retrolental fibroplasia and also a high incidence of neurological disorders.6-8 The problem is further complicated by the fact that blindness due to retrolental fibroplasia essentially occurs only in premature infants. It has long been known that cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders occur more frequently in premature infants than in full-term infants.9-12 Some11,12 also take a pessimistic view of the mental development of all premature infants, although most investigators have demonstrated that this is unwarranted, as indicated in the extensive review by Alm9 and in the work of Hess, Mohr, and Bartelme.