Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Investigating the changes in the brain that result from a loss of sensory input has provided significant insight into the considerable capacity of the brain to reorganise. One of the difficulties in studying sensory-deprived populations is that the time and extent of sensory loss vary significantly. In this review, we consider the changes in the human brain associated with complete absence of visual input resulting from bilateral congenital anophthalmia, in which the eyes fail to develop. We describe the functional reorganisation and associated structural and connectivity changes that occur in the brain of those affected by the condition. By considering animal models of this condition, we investigate the changes that may be occurring on a scale that is not captured by human in vivo imaging techniques. Finally, we lay out a model pathway for taking auditory information to the occipital cortex that may be specific to anophthalmia.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurosci Biobehav Rev

Publication Date





765 - 774


Auditory processing, Comparative anatomy, Cross-modal plasticity, Language, MRI, Visual deprivation, Anophthalmos, Auditory Perception, Blindness, Brain, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Neuroimaging, Neuronal Plasticity