The diagnosis of CVI may occur around the time of the identification of the brain condition associated with CVI and other disabilities. Or it may occur after a significant delay. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of CVI may be missed by diagnosticians altogether. What may contribute to this difficulty? The following barriers may exist:
- An eye exam that is normal or nearly normal, signaling the false impression that “vision is fine”.
- The possibility that more urgent medical issues require attention and the child’s lack of visual response seems somehow, less urgent
- The failure of providers recognizing the visual and behavioral characteristics of CVI
- The possibility that a different developmental condition/s will be diagnosed or misdiagnosed, masking the diagnosis and impact of CVI
- A diagnostician describing CVI as delayed visual maturation
Sometimes the suggestion of potential CVI comes from a non-medical source. PTs, OTs, teachers of the visually impaired, early intervention specialists, and O&M providers may recognize the traits that are associated with CVI. They may ask a parent to mention the possibility of CVI to an ophthalmologist, neurologist, or pediatrician. Their prompt may in turn prompt the doctor to have a second look or think more deeply about the child’s use of functional vision.
It is critical that anyone who is familiar with CVI advocate for the diagnosis. A diagnosis of CVI will expediate access to proper services and will help identify the child as having a visual impairment. This seemingly small action can place a child with CVI on the path to appropriate services.
Three Diagnostic Criteria
Although the diagnosis of CVI is determined by a medical doctor, it is critical that all parents and providers be aware of the essential criteria used to diagnose CVI. These elements include:
- An eye exam that does not explain the child’s functional use of vision.
- A history of a neurological condition associated with CVI
- The presence of the visual and behavioral characteristics
Lynn-link to my book chapter here???