Neurological visual impairment (NVI) is a visual impairment caused by an injury or disorder within the brain rather than the structure of the eye. NVI is the cause of a visual impairment for a significant number of individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

NVI is broken into three categories: cortical visual impairment (CVI), delayed visual maturation, and cortical blindness. The resources on this page currently focus on CVI.

Cortical Visual Impairment

Ten Visual and Behavioral Characteristics Related to CVI

Source: Roman-Lantzy, Christine (2018). Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, 2nd Edition. AFB Press.

  1. Difficulty with visual complexity
  2. Difficulty with distance viewing
  3. Visual field preferences
  4. Difficulty with visual novelty
  5. Visual latency
  6. Absence of a visually guided reach
  7. Color preference
  8. Need for movement
  9. Need for light
  10. Atypical visual reflexes

Medical Conditions Associated With CVI

Source: Roman-Lantzy, Christine (2018). Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, 2nd Edition. AFB Press.

Eye Conditions

  • Optic nerve conditions
  • Refractive error
  • Strabismus

Medical Conditions

  • Asphyxia
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Cerebral vascular accident
  • Infection
  • Structural abnormalities
    • Dandy Walker Syndrome
    • Lissencephaly
    • Schizencephaly
    • Congenital hydrocephalus
    • Polymicrogyria
    • Agenesis of the corpus callosum
    • Chromosomal disorders
    • Infections in utero (cytomegalovirus)
  • Metabolic Conditions
    • Severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
    • Kernicterus (high bilirubin levels)
    • Encephalopathy
  • Acquired CVI
    • Hypoxia (near-drowning, near-SIDS)
    • Gun shot wounds or blows to the head
    • Auto accidents involving the head
    • Shaken baby syndrome
    • Any serious injury to the brain
    • Encephalitis
    • Meningitis

CVI Range: Assessment and Scoring

Conducting Essential Assessments During COVID-19 [PDF]
This tool provides information on conducting essential assessments for students who are Blind/Visually Impaired during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the CVI Range assessment.

CVI – Assessment
The West Virginia Department of Education provides a video that shows an example of interviewing a parent who has a child with CVI. Tips are also included for interviewing parents, and a completed CVI Range is available as an example. 

CVI Web Exercise
Texas School for the Blind provides a three-part CVI exercise to use with Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy’s CVI Range Assessment. To access the web exercise, click the links under the “CVI Exercise Menu” on the right side of the page.


MDE-LIO does not endorse the purchase or use of any non-State Board of Education-adopted commercial products. Products and services noted below are included for information only and their inclusion should not be interpreted as a recommendation of MDE-LIO.

MDE-LIO Resources

Create a Cortical Visual Impairment Story Box [PDF}
This document outlines tips for creating an interactive and tactile story box for students who have CVI.

Creating Books for Students With CVI [PDF]
This document includes step-by-step guides for making handheld books for students in all phases of CVI.

Creating PowerPoint Stories and Books for Students with CVI [PDF]
This document provides tips and steps for creating books for students in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Other Resources

CVI Now was created by Perkins School for the Blind to support families of children with CVI. The website offers current, vetted, and accurate CVI resources. A CVI Now Facebook group is also available for parents, providing a space for families to connect, share, and find answers.

Salient Features Collaborative
The Salient Features Collaborative dictionary is based on the work and ideas of Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D. Dr. Roman-Lantzy defines salient features as "the defining elements that distinguish one target from another." This dictionary lists specific descriptors that can help with recognizing an image, object, environment, or person.

Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment Society
The mission of the Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment Society is to advocate for improvement in the quality of life of children with vision loss due to brain disorder, disease, or injury. The mission is restricted to matters concerning the sense of vision.

Professional Development Books

Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children
Vision and the Brain is a unique and comprehensive sourcebook of current knowledge about CVI and best practices for working with children with CVI. This book is available to borrow from MDE-LIO’s Blind/Visual Impairment Resource Library.

Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, Second Edition
This book provides educators, therapists, physicians, and parents of children with CVI with an understanding of the condition and a complete framework for assessment and intervention. This book is available to borrow from MDE-LIO’s Blind/Visual Impairment Resource Library.

Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles
This is a companion book to Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention. It dives deeper into topics that are extensions of the original concepts. This book is available to borrow from MDE-LIO’s Blind/Visual Impairment Resource Library. Supplemental CVI Advanced Principles: Online Materials may also be downloaded as a .zip file.


The iPad and Students With Visual and Multiple Disabilities: Apps for Kids with CVI
This Paths to Literacy post suggests apps that encourage visual attention, looking and basic touching, and refined visual-motor integration skills. A few apps were even designed specifically for children who have CVI.

Specific iPad Apps for Students With CVI in Phase III
This post suggests apps that can be accessed on the iPad and are particularly helpful for students who are in Phase III of CVI.

Our Favorite 20 iPad Apps for Kids With CVI
WonderBaby offers a list of 20 free and paid apps for children who have CVI, including apps that encourage looking and touching, as well as apps specifically made for children who have CVI.