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Chronic cortical visual impairment in children: aetiology, prognosis, and associated neurological deficits
  1. Richard Huoa,
  2. Susan K Burdenb,
  3. Creig S Hoyta,
  4. William V Goodc
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA, bUniversity of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, cSmith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA
  1. William V Good, MD, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2232 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


BACKGROUND/AIMS To evaluate prevalence, aetiology, prognosis, and associated neurological and ophthalmological problems in children with cortical visual impairment (CVI).

METHODS The records of 7200 outpatients seen in the paediatric ophthalmology practice over the past 15 years were reviewed in order to compile data concerning CVI. In addition, the authors devised and applied a system for grading visual recovery in order to assess prognosis.

RESULTS CVI occurred in 2.4% of all patients examined. The four most common causes of CVI were perinatal hypoxia (22%), cerebral vascular accident (14%), meningitis (12%), and acquired hypoxia (10%). Most children with CVI had associated neurological abnormalities. The most common were seizures (53%), cerebral palsy (26%) hemiparesis (12%), and hypotonia (5%). Associated ophthalmological problems were esotropia (19%), exotropia (18%), optic nerve atrophy (16%), ocular motor apraxia (15%), nystagmus (11%), and retinal disease (3%). On average, CVI patients improved by two levels as measured by the authors’ scale.

CONCLUSION The majority of children with CVI showed at least some recovery. In this group of children, CVI is often accompanied by additional ophthalmological problems and is nearly always associated with other, serious neurological abnormalities.

  • cortical visual impairment
  • epidemiology
  • children

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