Perspectives on Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI): Establishing a Global Clinical, Education, and Research Network

October 2017

Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is the foremost cause of pediatric vision impairment in developed countries. Compared to children who are blind from damage to the eyes, the treatment of children with CVI has been hindered. Because of congenital brain damage to visual processing areas, children with CVI have visual dysfunctions including the inability to recognize familiar objects (i.e., their parents’ faces), spatial processing problems (i.e., difficulty way-finding), attention, and visual-motor coordination. Such myriad presentation of deficits creates an inadequate diagnostic consensus for CVI. Furthermore, empirically-derived therapies and diagnostic tools have not been developed. Together, these factors impair progress in CVI. To advance the care of children with CVI, parents, educators, researchers, and clinicians need to be united (on a national and international level) to discuss habilitation needs, therapy goals, and research progress. At this seminal meeting, the following aims will be addressed: determining strategies for identifying children with CVI, formation of a resource-sharing plan, prioritizing research goals, and development of a CVI consensus regarding a common definition of CVI and its associated visual dysfunctions. The long-term goal is the development of a large-scale collaborative effort, galvanizing the expertise available within the Boston community. Drawing inspiration from strides made in other developmental disorders (i.e., autism), significant advances can occur through international collaborative efforts involving the merger of scientific testing, education, and clinical expertise. We believe that this meeting and the formation of a global CVI network will enable similar advancements to be made in the field of CVI.