Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Cortical Blindness

  • Steven Z. RapcsakEmail author
  • G. Alex Hishaw
  • Tanya P. Lin
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1354


Anton’s syndrome; Blindsight

Short Description or Definition

Cortical blindness refers to severe visual loss produced by bilateral damage to the geniculostriate visual pathways. The underlying pathophysiological mechanism involves direct destruction and/or deafferentation of primary visual cortex (striate cortex, Brodmann area 17, or V1). The term Anton’s syndrome is applied to patients with cortical blindness who demonstrate explicit denial or unawareness (anosognosia) of their visual impairment. Some patients with cortical blindness retain the ability to process visual stimuli without conscious awareness, a phenomenon that has been coined “blindsight.”


Although no universally agreed upon classification system exists, patients with cortical blindness differ in terms of the severity of the visual loss, the presence/absence of spared visual abilities (conscious or unconscious), the degree of awareness of the deficit, and the extent of functional recovery. There...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Z. Rapcsak
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • G. Alex Hishaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tanya P. Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Neurology SectionSouthern Arizona VA Healthcare SystemTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA