Cortical Visual Impairment vs. Delayed Visual Maturation

Many children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) are diagnosed with Delayed Visual Maturation (DVM). The doctor tells the concerned parents to wait and see…

We cannot know which condition, Delayed Visual Maturation or Cortical Visual Impairment is affecting the child but this first year is a precious year of brain development including vision development that should not be wasted.

If an infant is not using vision, assessment of visual skills and placing visual strategies in place is important whether the child has CVI or delayed visual maturation. We have nothing to lose and all to gain by creating environments to support visual development.

Delayed Visual Maturation always resolves in the first year so certainly this cannot be used as a diagnosis after the infant’s first birthday. If the child is over the age of one, this is a child with CVI.

 Definitions from American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

What is cortical visual impairment?

Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is a decreased visual response due to a neurological problem affecting the visual parts of the brain. Typically, a child with CVI has a normal eye exam or has an eye condition that cannot account for the abnormal visual behavior. It is one of the most frequent causes of visual impairment in children from developed countries.

What is delayed visual maturation (DVM)?

Delayed visual maturation is similar to cortical visual impairment in that an infant has a normal eye exam but does not demonstrate typical visual behavior.  Unlike CVI, the visual response improves in a child with delayed visual maturation and resolves by one year of life.



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