Functional Vision Assessment Service
Most of the babies and children who are referred to this program have been diagnosed with an eye disorder that has potential to impact a child's field of vision. Such conditions include retinopathy of prematurity, degenerative retinal conditions and cortical visual impairment (CVI), which is the most common cause of permanent visual impairment in children ages 1-3. CVI, also known as cerebral visual impairment, is a broad diagnosis given to a child showing abnormal visual responses that cannot be attributed to the eyes themselves, but must be attributed to some dysfunction of the brain.
This dysfunction could be due to any number of causes including brain injury, congenital anomalies of the brain, infections involving the brain (such as viral meningitis), hydrocephalus shunt failure, severe epilepsy and metabolic disorders, to name a few.
Other children who are evaluated here have known neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities or conditions known to obstruct visual pathways in the brain, such as a brain tumor. We also evaluate children who use augmentative communication systems.
Children who come to our test center typically cannot be assessed in a standard way by an ophthalmologist. Patients must first undergo a standard pediatric eye exam by a Boston Children's Hospital pediatric ophthalmologist, who can determine whether there is an undetected eye disease or whether glasses are needed before referral is made to the specialized visual function service.
Consult your child's neurologist, pediatrician or teacher for the visually impaired regarding whether our unique service is appropriate for your child.