Blindness Brain Adaptations

Author: Olivia Tang

Hi all, hope you all are doing well with the Seattle sunshine. Enjoy this segue to my speal about how millennials like me are best absorbing information nowadays through the internet.

So recently, I’ve been exploring the YouTube community in my free time, to find more content I can watch. I came across a blind YouTuber, Molly Burke, a content creator, and inspirational speaker about her life as a blind person who lost her sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Her channel was interesting and inspiring to me, because she emphasizes how people who are blind can do things and live life like any other person can. She has a video on her channel on how blind people use technology, and I think it is a very informative and eye-opening video about how universal accessibility impacts the sensory disabled community. After visiting her channel, I looked more into how a person’s sensory functions adapt to their vision loss.

I’m amazed at blind person’s ability to hone their other four sensory functions, hearing, touch,smell, taste to accomplish anything. My late grandfather, who was blind, was able to tell me details about the construction of a room after tapping his walking stick on the floor. According to this study about the structural changes on the brain from blindness, the portion of the brain that accounts for sight shrinks, but the portions that do not account for vision increase in size(University). Researchers found that in the blind groups involved in the study, the frontal lobe which is responsible for working memory, was abnormally enlarged, most likely because blind people rely on memory to know the placement of things they can’t see.

I’m happy to have discovered Molly Burke on YouTube. I’ve learned a lot through her videos and through internet research, and I think her story and her message is very inspiring to anyone who comes across her. I highly suggest checking out her channel!



University of California - Los Angeles. "Blindness causes structural brain changes, implying brain can re-organize itself to adapt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2009. <>.