Cerebral Visual Impairment
Cerebral visual impairment (CVI; also termed retrogeniculate visual impairment) is the most frequent cause of childhood visual impairment in developed countries. The visual deficit results from pathology posterior to the lateral geniculate nucleus (retrogeniculate visual pathways). CVI is often referred to as cortical visual impairment, but the term cerebral is preferred because both subcortical (optic radiations) and cortical pathology can result in similar visual impairment. CVI can be transient or permanent and can be an isolated finding or associated with multiple neurologic deficits. Partial improvement in visual behavior may occur over the first few years of life.
CVI can be congenital or acquired. Prenatal and perinatal causes include intrauterine infection, structural central nervous system abnormalities, intracranial hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia (a prominent cause of visual impairment in premature children), hypoxia, seizures, and hydrocephalus. Acquired causes include accidental trauma, abusive head trauma, meningitis, and encephalitis.
Infants with CVI show variable degrees of impairment, from mildly decreased visual behavior to roving eye movements with complete absence of response to visual stimulation.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 10 - Glaucoma. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.