Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI), also known as cortical visual impairment, is a condition that affects individuals due to damage in the parts of the brain responsible for processing visual information. Whilst more commonly diagnosed in babies and young children, it can persist into adulthood, posing unique challenges for those affected.

Symptoms and Signs

Identifying CVI can be complex as its symptoms vary from individual to individual. Children with CVI may exhibit difficulties in responding to visual stimuli, recognising faces and objects, or understanding what they are seeing. Parents may observe their child reacting slowly to visual cues, displaying a preference for moving objects, or focusing more on peripheral vision.

Additionally, children with CVI may have associated health issues such as developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or hearing loss. These conditions often coexist with CVI, further complicating diagnosis and management.


CVI is primarily caused by brain injuries occurring before, during, or shortly after birth. Common triggers include oxygen deprivation, hydrocephalus, infections, head trauma, and certain genetic conditions. Premature birth is also linked to an increased risk of developing CVI.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing CVI requires a comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals, including eye specialists familiar with the condition. Whilst there isn’t a single test for CVI, a series of examinations, medical history reviews, and brain scans may be conducted to rule out other potential causes of visual impairment.

Although there is no cure for CVI, vision rehabilitation can significantly improve the quality of life for affected individuals. Early intervention, therapy, educational support, and specialised services play crucial roles in helping children with CVI develop and learn to their fullest potential. Additionally, ongoing medical care may be necessary to manage any associated health conditions.

Latest Research

Researchers funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) are actively exploring new approaches to understand and treat CVI. Projects include the development of virtual reality tools to study how individuals with CVI process visual information compared to those with ocular impairments. Other initiatives focus on improving methods for testing vision in infants and young children, which could enhance vision rehabilitation strategies in the future.


Cerebral Visual Impairment presents unique challenges for affected individuals and their families. By raising awareness, promoting early detection, and supporting ongoing research efforts, we can strive towards better understanding and improved management of CVI. Collaboration between healthcare professionals, educators, and caregivers is essential in providing comprehensive care and support for those living with this condition.

For further information and support, individuals are encouraged to consult with healthcare professionals and explore resources provided by organisations dedicated to visual impairment advocacy and research. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of individuals affected by CVI.