CVI and the Evaluation of Functional Vision

Overview of CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment) with diagnosis, characteristic behaviors, evaluating functional vision, and intervention strategies

In this webcast  Dr. Christine Roman presents an overview of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), with a look at diagnosis, characteristic behaviors, functional vision evaluation, and strategies for intervention to improve functional vision.  CVI is now the leading cause of visual impairment in children.


  1. Normal eye exam
  2. Big neurologic event
  3. 10 characteristic behaviors (listed below)

Characteristics of CVI:

  1. Color:  unusual attention to color
  2. Movement:  attention to movement
  3. Latency:  delayed response to visual stimulus
  4. Complexity: difficulty with visual complexity
  5. Visual Field Differences:  child may notice things on one side more clearly than the other, or in upper or lower field.
  6. Visual Novelty:  child with CVI often prefers looking at things that are familiar
  7. Reflex Response:  often don’t respond when touched on bridge of nose or in response to visual threat
  8. Distance Viewing:  often prefer near viewing
  9. Light Gazing:  drawn to look at light
  10. Visually-Directed Reach:  often unable to look and reach as a single action


Strategies include:

1.  Using the child’s preferred color to call attention to something (as with the yellow pompom above).


Cluttered bookcase

2.  Decreasing visual clutter and thereby minimizing visual complexity






3.   Presenting items against a plain black background with clear contrast


For more ideas, see strategies and resources on Paths to Literacy and Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy.