Low Vision and Plasticity: Implications for Rehabilitation

Gordon E. Legge, Susana T.L. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Low vision is any type of visual impairment that affects activities of daily living. In the context of low vision, we define plasticity as changes in brain or perceptual behavior that follow the onset of visual impairment and that are not directly due to the underlying pathology. An important goal of low-vision research is to determine how plasticity affects visual performance of everyday activities. In this review, we consider the levels of the visual system at which plasticity occurs, the impact of age and visual experience on plasticity, and whether plastic changes are spontaneous or require explicit training. We also discuss how plasticity may affect low-vision rehabilitation. Developments in retinal imaging, noninvasive brain imaging, and eye tracking have supplemented traditional clinical and psychophysical methods for assessing how the visual system adapts to visual impairment. Findings from contemporary research are providing tools to guide people with low vision in adopting appropriate rehabilitation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-343
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual review of vision science
StatePublished - Oct 14 2016


  • contrast sensitivity
  • critical period
  • retina
  • visual acuity
  • visual cortex
  • visual deprivation
  • visual field
  • visual impairment

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