The research studies conducted by our group are designed to understand how vision develops in infants and young children. We know that abnormal visual experience early in life can result in abnormal visual development. For instance, young children can develop an eye-turn (strabismus) or poor vision (amblyopia) if they are born with a cataract and it is not treated. While the clinical management of some of these patients is clear, there are more subtle conditions that we still need to understand better. For instance, we regularly ask how much far-sight (hyperopia) in infancy is enough to disrupt normal neural development and result in clinical problems (strabismus and amblyopia)? Should we be giving glasses to infants with significant amounts of hyperopia?
In our work, we look at the eye movements, focusing responses and EEG of young infants and children to gain a better understanding of the difference between normal and abnormal visual development, particularly in the context of growth of the eye (and its impact on spectacle prescription) and the refinement of synaptic circuitry in the visual parts of the brain (and its impact on visual function). Current questions that we are addressing include issues related to how the visual system achieves clear and single vision during development, how infants are able to detect the contours that define objects, and how well young children are able to use spatial information about objects in their environment. Our studies include both infants and children whose visual systems are developing typically and clinical patients who may be experiencing disrupted visual development.