Neuroplasticity in cerebral visual impairment (CVI): Assessing functional vision and the neurophysiological correlates of dorsal stream dysfunction


Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) results from perinatal injury to visual processing structures and pathways and is the most common individual cause of pediatric visual impairment and blindness in developed countries. While there is mounting evidence demonstrating extensive neuroplastic reorganization in early onset, profound ocular blindness, how the brain reorganizes in the setting of congenital damage to cerebral (i.e. retro-geniculate) visual pathways remains comparatively poorly understood. Individuals with CVI exhibit a wide range of visual deficits and, in particular, present with impairments of higher order visual spatial processing (referred to as “dorsal stream dysfunction”) as well as object recognition (associated with processing along the ventral stream). In this review, we discuss the need for ongoing work to develop novel, neuroscience-inspired approaches to investigate functional visual deficits in this population. We also outline the role played by advanced structural and functional neuroimaging in helping to elucidate the underlying neurophysiology of CVI, and highlight key differences with regard to patterns of neural reorganization previously described in ocular blindness.

Last updated on 11/26/2019