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Schizophr Res. 2018 Dec;202:414-416. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.061. Epub 2018 Jul 7.

Congenital blindness is protective for schizophrenia and other psychotic illness. A whole-population study.

Author information

1
Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit, Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Rear 50, Murray Street, Perth 6000, Australia; Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry, Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Rear 50, Murray Street, Perth 6000, Australia. Electronic address: vera.morgan@uwa.edu.au.
2
Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry, Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Rear 50, Murray Street, Perth 6000, Australia.
3
Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Western Australia, Lions Eye Institute, Australia.
4
Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit, Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Rear 50, Murray Street, Perth 6000, Australia.
5
Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry, Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Rear 50, Murray Street, Perth 6000, Australia; Perth Voices Clinic, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Abstract

Congenital/early blindness is reportedly protective against schizophrenia. Using a whole-population cohort of 467,945 children born in Western Australia between 1980 and 2001, we examined prevalence of schizophrenia and psychotic illness in individuals with congenital/early blindness. Overall, 1870 children developed schizophrenia (0.4%) while 9120 developed a psychotic illness (1.9%). None of the 66 children with cortical blindness developed schizophrenia or psychotic illness. Eight of the 613 children with peripheral blindness developed a psychotic illness other than schizophrenia and fewer had developed schizophrenia. Our results support findings from small case studies that congenital/early cortical but not peripheral blindness is protective against schizophrenia.

KEYWORDS:

Congenital blindness; Cortical blindness; Peripheral blindness; Psychotic disorders; Schizophrenia

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