Vision Loss In Children And Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)
In September 2021, there are initiatives to increase awareness about Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). CVI, Vision Loss, has been the leading cause of vision impairment in children in the United States. This affects as many as 3.4% of children, and the majority have already been identified as needing extra help at school.
So what is CVI?
- It is a brain-based injury that affects visual processing.
- Children with CVI, Vision Loss, see what we see, however, the brain cannot interpret it.
- CVI causes children to see the world as if it were an instrument containing loose bits of colored material, such as glass or plastic.
- The colored material appears to be between two flat plates and two plane mirrors, and the position of the bits of material are reflected in an endless variety of patterns.
- Four to six images may appear, and vision may look fractured, brightly colored, or scrambled.
There Is Currently Not A Cure For CVI
This visual impairment is not a stand-alone condition.
- It is a visual symptom of migraines or conditions like a stroke or brain injury.
- There is currently no cure for CVI.
- Cortical Blindness can affect vision in total resulting in damage to both sides of the brain, usually both sides of the occipital (visual) cortex.
- However, vision rehabilitation can help people with CVI make the most of their vision.
- A small percentage of people with CVI problems get better over time on their own.
- CVI can be treated with NovaVision therapies, NeuroEyeCoach, and Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT).
CVI And Ocular Impairment Are Not The Same
CVI is not the same as an ocular impairment or blindness. People may associate blindness with ocular or eye impairment. However, it is neurological. It’s a brain-based visual loss where the damage involves the brain’s visual system. Many kids with CVI often have completely healthy eyes. Presently, Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is the most common cause of permanent visual impairment in children.
CVI Is Not Limited To Children Only
No, adults can also develop problems with their vision after a traumatic brain injury or stroke that damages the brain. Veterans may be at higher risk for visual problems as a result of combat injuries. Davies et al reported in 2013 that children with developmental problems and disabilities tend to have higher rates of CVI. They also have increased risks of additional mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
CVI Symptoms May Include:
- Loss of secondary or central visual fields
- No control over eye movements
- Difficulty seeing at low contrast, and therefore difficulties with visual recognition of objects, shapes, and/or people.
- Cerebral visual impairment in children manifests in various ways:
- Being unable to find things in a cluttered scene
- Bumping into things
- Inability to copy from the class whiteboard to their workbooks or difficulty controlling their eye position effectively to keep focused on a task (Philip and Dutton, 2014).
- In primary school-aged children, when not recognized and understood, these issues may be interpreted as lack of understanding, clumsiness, inattention, or as social and communication difficulties, especially if the child has developmental problems (Swift et al., 2008).
Things You Can Do
- Make an appointment with us to have your child evaluated, be proactive and implement early intervention protocols.
- Pay attention to your child to make sure he/she is not experiencing the symptoms listed above.
- Consider vision loss rehabilitation.
- Learn all you can about your child’s disability and the options for treatment and education.
- Identify other parents, a support system, of visually impaired children.
- Make sure you take care of yourself, and your relationships with others and your family.
Contact us to schedule an eye exam for your child. We will discuss CVI and potential options if it is determined that your child has CVI