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The term CVI can be confusing. Traditionally, CVI stood for Cortical Visual impairment. This means that while the eyes may look healthy there is damage to the visual pathway which results in visual impairment.

In CVI, the ocular structures (i.e. the eye, and the optic nerve head) appear normal, but the damage lies in the pathway which normally sends the information collected by the eye to the visual cortex.

More recently, the term CVI has been used to stand for Cerebral Visual Impairment and is sometimes referred to as Perceptual Visual Dysfunction. This is a term which means that there is damage to the brain (but not necessarily the primary visual cortex) affecting how it processes the visual environment.

Below is a variety of information on how to assess CVI and strategies to aid in the child’s care.

Visual skills inventory

It can be very useful for parents to complete a questionnaire/inventory about their child’s vision prior to attending the eye appointment.

There are many types of these available. One well known example is the visual skills inventory developed by Professor Gordon Dutton and his team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow.

The comprehensive Visual Skills Inventories for two age groups are available for your use below:

Short visual skills questionnaires

We have used the information contained within these larger inventories to put together a short visual skills questionnaire for infants and older children:


If the visual skills inventories identify an aspect of vision that is problematic, Home and School strategies can be implemented which offer practical advice on how to manage such problems, for example trips over obstacles on the floor, has difficulty recognising relatives in a crowd.

Home Strategies

School Strategies