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Blindness/Visual Impairment/What are some conditions/traumas that can cause total blindness in a child?


I am wondering what types of diseases/conditions/traumas could cause sudden total blindness (both eyes) in a child of, say, 8 years old.

I am trying to create the history of a character I'm creating, and would like it to be as realistic as possible. Thanks in advance.

It would be pretty unusual, but any blunt trauma to the head can conceivably cause retinal detachment.  Short of the eyes being poked out or something, retinal detachment is probably the only way you would see sudden total blindness.  If you had an unknown underlying defect in the eyes, like the Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy (FEVR) that runs in my family, sudden retinal detachment can happen even without traumatic force to the head.  I've met undiagnosed FEVR patients who had a suddent retinal detachment for no apparent reason, and this could be theoretically more likely around age 8 if the child was beginning growth spurts related to puberty.  Also, my husband had a sudden total retinal detachment in one eye due to an anaphylactic allergic reaction to a bee sting when he was about 8, probably because of a combination of the fragile FEVR retinas and the effect of the anaphylaxis itself and the emergency meds to treat it.  It could have happened to both eyes, nobody knows why it didn't.

Hope that helps!

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Elayne Glantzberg


I can answer questions related to Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy (FEVR), as well as more general questions concerning blindness in children.


I have five family members with Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy (FEVR), my husband and four of my six children. My husband and my two youngest children are blind, and my two girls are losing vision. We deal closely with Dr. Michael Trese and his associates in Royal Oak, MI, making trips to see him about once a month for somebody to have surgery or an angiogram or some other exam or procedure. I am familiar with much of the research on FEVR, and can research answers to questions I don't know.

I am a member of both the NFB and AFB parents' organizations.

I have some time in college.

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