What Is CVI (Cerebral Visual Impairment) And How Can An Eye Doctor Help

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What Is CVI (Cerebral Visual Impairment) And How Can An Eye Doctor Help

Cerebral visual impairment, or CVI for short, is a disorder that affects your eyesight due to damage of the pathways between the eyes and the area of the brain responsible for vision. It's a common condition in children and sometimes can continue to have adverse effects well into adulthood.

Early detection will give your child the best chance of overcoming this condition with the help of some therapies and services to encourage development of the visual processing areas of the brain. This article will outline causes, signs and symptoms and what your eye doctor will look for.

An Overview of Cerebral Visual Impairment

When you have CVI, essentially disruptions to vision are caused by the fact that the brain has trouble processing the signal from the eye to see a shape, or an image. CVI is not a condition of the eye, but is more so related to the communication between the eyes and the brain. Some children develop, or are more prone to developing CVI if they:

  • Have experienced a brain trauma early in life
  • Were born prematurely
  • Experienced a lack of oxygen or blood supply to the brain for an amount of time
  • Have/had a brain infection
  • Have a pre existing genetic condition
  • Also have hearing loss
  • Have developmental disabilities

Some of the signs and symptoms that your child may have CVI are:

  • Your child does not recognize faces and objects with ease
  • You notice your child cannot differentiate and reach for a specific object when there are multiple objects around it
  • They don’t have a high response to certain visual stimuli
  • They prefer to look at things that are fast moving and very busy
  • Your child does not reach for things in front of them
  • You notice they do not have a sensitive reaction to direct light- like bright sun or a lamp

Detecting and diagnosing CVI is not a straightforward and simple task. But, first and foremost it is important to rule out any vision disorders or impairments that may be causing your child difficulty with the development of their sight. Your Calgary optometrist will complete a comprehensive eye exam to rule out anything prior to testing for CVI. Once this has been completed, your doctor or pediatrician will refer you to a specialist to look for signs of trauma to the brain.

Screening for CVI through Calgary Eye Exams

While there is no cure for CVI, early intervention will provide your child the best chance to rehabilitate and hopefully grow out of many of their symptoms. The experienced team at Sunridge Eye Clinic can begin testing your child’s vision at the age of 6 months old. This alone is a key factor in catching CVI early on and beginning a visual rehabilitation program for young children. Reach out to book a consultation by filling out the contact form below or by calling 1 (403) 280-7518.

FAQs

Q: What does CVI stand for?
A: CVI stands for Cerebral Visual Impairment and can sometimes be known as cortical visual impairment.

Q: How will an eye doctor look for CVI?
A: Your eye doctor will complete a comprehensive eye examination to rule out any vision issues affecting the eye. If your child is an infant, the doctor will complete some tests to look for healthy eye movement, focus and muscle tone. If your child is older, a full eye exam will be completed.

Q: Is CVI common?
A: Yes, CVI is one of the most common causes of vision impairment in young children and the leading cause of congenital blindness.


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