Out of the darkness

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Science  23 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6259, pp. 372-375
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6259.372

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For years, physicians assumed that once a blind person passed a critical age in early childhood without regaining vision, their brain would never be able to make sense of the visual world. A project called Prakash has demolished that assumption. Since 2004, project eye surgeons have removed congenital cataracts from hundreds of blind children, teenagers and young adults in India, restoring their sight. The surprising capacity of Prakash patients to regain substantial vision is rewriting our understanding of visual neuroscience. While probing how the newly sighted process visual cues, project scientists are peeling away layers of mystery about which aspects of sight come preprogrammed and which are shaped by experience.