What is CVI?

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of visual impairment in all developed countries.

Individuals with CVI often have eyes that function normally but the message that is received in the brain from the eyes is not able to be processed normally. It is an invisible form of visual impairment that is often not identified in early childhood.

CVI Causes

CVI is caused by conditions that impact the structure or function of the visual processing areas of the brain. Conditions may occur at birth or be acquired later through trauma. Some specific causes of CVI include: Hypoxia/asphyxia, white matter disorders, stroke, intraventricular hemorrhage, genetic/chromosomal disorders, and seizures. Children with CVI are at risk of misdiagnosis with conditions that mask CVI, such as autism and attention deficit disorders.

10 Characteristics of CVI

  1. Color preferences (often red, yellow, saturated)
  2. Need for movement (to elicit/sustain attention)
  3. Visual latency (processing time)
  4. Visual field preferences
  5. Difficulty with visual complexity (array, target/object, multisensory, faces)
  6. Need for/attraction to light
  7. Difficulty with distance viewing
  8. Atypical visual reflexes
  9. Difficulty with visual novelty (easier with familiar objects, people, settings)
  10. Difficulty with visually guided reach (looking and reaching at the same time)
For more quickly digestable information on CVI, please visit the Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment Society’s (PCVIS) website.