A mysterious connection
Blindness may reduce the risk of developing schizophrenia. The curious finding could help to better understand the disease.
Since the 1950s, scientists have been observing a strange connection: those who are born blind seem to be protected from schizophrenia. Neither in psychiatric wards or clinics that treat the blind, nor in the research literature is there a doubly affected person. Congenital blindness is often the result of early infections, hereditary diseases or brain injuries - all factors that individually make psychosis even more likely.
The apparent paradox has occupied researchers to this day. In 2018, for example, a team led by epidemiologist Vera Morgan from the University of Western Australia analyzed he alth data from almost half a million people who were born between 1980 and 2001 and were aged 14 to 35 "Image" at the time of the study. Consistent with previous estimates, 0.4 percent of them had developed a psychotic illness by that time. However, the scientists were now specifically looking for people who were born blind or who became blind before the age of seven. They differentiated between cortical blindness, in which the processing of visual stimuli in the brain is disturbed, and peripheral blindness, in which the eyes themselves are the problem - for example glaucoma, lens defects or retinal detachment. Of the 613 people with peripheral blindness, eight had developed a psychotic disorder, accounting for 0.2 percent. Of the 66 with cortical blindness, not a single one was affected… alt="