Cortical Vision Impairment (CVI)
Cortical/Cerebral Vision Impairment (CVI) refers to vision impairment caused by damage or disorder to the visual pathways and visual processing centres of the brain, and is the leading cause of vision loss in children in developed countries (Phillip & Dutton, 2014).
There are a range of assessment tools available, including the CVI Range tool (Roman-Lantzy, 2018). These can be done face-to-face or online via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
Information from these assessments is used to develop interventions for O&M, as well as education and other therapies.
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Causes of CVI can include asphyxia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, infection (such as meningitis or toxoplasmosis), or tumour. CVI can coexist with ocular vision impairment.
CVI is indicated when all the following characteristics exist:
An ocular eye exam that is normal or cannot explain the functional vision impairment;
A history of a significant congenital or acquired brain injury or neurological disorder; and
The presence of unique visual characteristics and behaviours associated with CVI.
With the appropriate intervention, the functional vision of children with CVI can improve.
What interventions are available?
The CVI Range
The CVI Range is a reliable and validated assessment tool developed by Dr Christine Roman-Lantzy (2007, 2018) that can be used to describe how children with CVI see, develop appropriate interventions, and monitor progress and improvements in functional vision.
My primary role is to conduct the CVI Range assessment, determine which phase of CVI the child is currently in, and then work collaboratively with families, therapists and education professionals to implement effective strategies within the child’s daily routines. These might be routines in the home, or the child’s day-care or educational setting.
I also incorporate other assessment tools developed by Professor Gordon Dutton and others (Lueck & Dutton, 2015).
Some useful websites for further links and information on CVI are:
CVI Community Australia:
The Perkins Learning CVI Hub:
The American Printing House for the Blind CVI page:
Little Bear Sees:
Kaleidoscope: The Cortical Visual Impairment Podcast:
Lueck, A.H. & Dutton, G.N. (2015). Vision and the brain: understanding cerebral visual impairment in children. New York: AFB Press.
Philip, S.S., & Dutton, G.N. (2014). Identifying and characterising cerebral visual impairment in children: a review. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 97(3), 196-208.
Roman-Lantzy, C. (2007). Cortical visual impairment: An approach to assessment and intervention. New York: AFB Press.
Roman-Lantzy, C. (2010). Teaching orientation and mobility to students with cortical visual impairment. In W. R. Wiener, R. L. Welsh, & B. Blasch (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility(3rd ed., Vol. II, pp. 667-711). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Roman-Lantzy, C. (2018). Cortical visual impairment: An approach to assessment and intervention. (2nd ed.). New York: AFB Press.
Schwartz, J.M., & Begley, S. (2002). The mind and the brain. New York: Harper Collins