Cortical Visual Impairment

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is a visual impairment caused by an injury or disorder within the brain rather than the eye.

CVI is the cause of a visual impairment for a significant number of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

10 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 (CMV)
  • 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


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.

Webcast: Cortical Visual Impairment and the Evaluation of Functional Vision

This webcast from Perkins eLEARNING features Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy presenting an overview of CVI. Dr. Roman talks about the importance of early diagnosis and common diagnostic issues. In addition, she provides information about the specific characteristic behaviors of CVI and examples of each. The webcast also provides information regarding the evaluation of functional vision as well as interventions to improve functional vision.

CVI Focus Series: Assessment, Intervention, and Literacy for Individuals with Cortical Visual Impairment (eLearning)

This series of five webinars by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy is available for purchase from the American Foundation for the Blind. The webinars provide a structured and sequenced approach to interventive work with individuals diagnosed with CVI.