Can eyesight be healed in an adult if it was absent since birth?

On an article online about the ‘mirror test’, it mentions that adults who have their sight restored (after never having it apparently) see themselves in the mirror and initially think it is another person.

My high school teacher though said that if a human didn’t have some eyesight when growing up, the brain functions wouldnt develop, so even if the eyes are healed as an adult, the person would not be able to see (although they may see jumbled colors).

Is this true? If blind as a child, are you a no-hoper? Or can you be Jesus-healed (by doctors?)?

Molyneux’s Problem.

An example of this was one of the case studies in Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book, An Anthropologist On Mars - the fourth of seven, entitled “To See and Not See”. A synopsis of the 7 case studies is in Wikipedia.

It’s a fascinating book, and Dr. Sacks is a terrific writer - best known for Awakenings, turned into a movie, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, another set of amazing case studies drawn from his own neurological patients.

And could you tell us a bit more about what the experience of this man was?

While the man in question could perceive colors, motions, shapes, etc. he was nearly unable to identify what he was seeing. His eyes and optic nerves were working properly, but his brain was unable to properly interpret what he was seeing.

Thus, while he eyes could see a cat walking across a kitchen floor, and he could tell an observer that something was moving in the kitchen, he was often unable to identify what the moving thing was until he touched it. When he felt the cat, it’s fur, and heard it making some sort of noise he would say “Ah-ha! It’s the cat!”.

At times, he would close his eyes because he actually found it easier to, say, walk around his home or down the street as a blind man than while being bombarded by visual information he couldn’t do anything with. Vision was interesting, but distracting. It wasn’t useful for him, for the most part.

It was quite an intriguing case - well worth reading.

For a long time, it was thought that if you are blind past the critical period, i.e. childhood, you can never regain sight.More recent research has shown that you can regain many visual functions. A person who does this will never have perfect vision, but they won’t be completely blind, either. Pawan Sinha talks about it (warning: video with sound).

Some things seem to never be recovered if deprived at the start of life, e.g. binocular vision.

I though Molyneux’s problem was making grandiose claims about the features in his games, and then failing to deliver. :slight_smile:

The “thinking it’s another person” is also the first reaction to mirrors of people of any age who haven’t encountered one before - it’s not eyesight-related so much as “mirrors are an amazing thing”-related.

I don’t know what you are talking about, but the issue raised by the OP was raised in the 17th century by William Molyneux, and has been associated with his name ever since. There is a long history of theoretical and empirical research on it, as outlined in the article I linked to. Everything else in this thread is just anecdote (and mostly second or third hand anecdote at that).

njtt, game dveloper Peter Molyneux.