Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) is known to play a role in causing certain ophthalmological problems, including ptosis, refractive errors, strabismus, subnormal visual acuity, and optic nerve hypoplasia. For those with FASD, these abnormalities may result in visual perception problems (VPPs). A small recent study, which is summarized here, investigated the prevalence of VPPs and health- and vision-related quality of life among young adults with FASD.
Researchers reviewed the medical histories of 30 young adults with FASD and 29 without to determine how likely they are to develop visual perception problems (VPPs) in any of five different areas. They found that 53% of individuals with FASD (16 out of 30) had developed a VPP in at least one area, while this was only true of 3% of those without FASD (1 out of 29). A third of the individuals with FASD said they had developed a VPP during childhood, with the rest said it developed during early adulthood. Many of the participants with FASD said they had issues with visual orientation and some even reported that they never visited the city without a companion; others did not want to leave their hometown at all. The researchers suggest that, as children grow, the environmental demands being placed on them increase, and, consequently, so do the impact of VPPs on their quality of life.