Disentangling How the Brain is "Wired" in Cortical (Cerebral) Visual Impairment


Merabet LB, Mayer LD, Bauer CM, Wright D, Kran BS. Disentangling How the Brain is "Wired" in Cortical (Cerebral) Visual Impairment. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2017;24 (2) :83-91. Copy at https://tinyurl.com/y7v3fzws

Date Published:

2017 May


Cortical (cerebral) visual impairment (CVI) results from perinatal injury to visual processing structures and pathways of the brain and is the most common cause of severe visual impairment or blindness in children in developed countries. Children with CVI display a wide range of visual deficits including decreased visual acuity, impaired visual field function, as well as impairments in higher-order visual processing and attention. Together, these visual impairments can dramatically influence a child's development and well-being. Given the complex neurologic underpinnings of this condition, CVI is often undiagnosed by eye care practitioners. Furthermore, the neurophysiological basis of CVI in relation to observed visual processing deficits remains poorly understood. Here, we present some of the challenges associated with the clinical assessment and management of individuals with CVI. We discuss how advances in brain imaging are likely to help uncover the underlying neurophysiology of this condition. In particular, we demonstrate how structural and functional neuroimaging approaches can help gain insight into abnormalities of white matter connectivity and cortical activation patterns, respectively. Establishing a connection between how changes within the brain relate to visual impairments in CVI will be important for developing effective rehabilitative and education strategies for individuals living with this condition.