Cortical Visual Impairment

Also known as: CVI, cerebral visual impairment, neurological visual impairment, brain damage related to vision and others.

What is cortical visual impairment?

Vision is the result of complex processes of which the eyes are only one part. The processing of the visual information (interpretation and translation into visual images) occurs in many parts of the brain. Temporary or permanent vision problems that occur because of injury or damage to the brain areas responsible for vision (as opposed to problems with the eyes) is known as cortical visual impairment. The degree may range from severe visual impairment to total blindness. It is often associated with developmental delay and/or cerebral palsy.
 

What causes cortical visual impairment? 

Major causes include; asphyxia or lack of oxygen to the brain before/during or after delivery (perinatal hypoxia), developmental brain defects, hydrocephalus (water on the brain), head injury and/or brain infections. Non-anatomic disorders like seizures, newborn metabolic problems (like a low blood sugar- hypoglycemia), and drugs used by the mother during pregnancy may also result in CVI.
 

What are the symptoms of cortical visual impairment? 

The symptoms of cortical visual impairment can vary widely. They include varying degrees of vision loss, delayed response to visual stimuli, difficulty visualizing new surrounding and withdrawing from unfamiliar visual stimuli, looking at objects from unusual angles, avoiding social gaze and direct eye contact and other symptoms.
 

What are cortical visual impairment care options? 

Treatment of the underlying neurological condition and early visual stimulation strategies can help children with cortical visual impairment.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:13:24 PM