Cortical Blindness

What is Cortical Blindness?

Cortical Blindness is a visual impairment caused by damage to the visual systems in the brain (visual cortex) which deal with processing and integration of visual information. There is an impairment of visual functioning even though the eyes are anatomically and structurally intact. Because of the neurological basis for the condition, it is also called Neurological Vision Impairment and Cortical Vision Impairment. The condition affects vision in a variety of ways and causes vision loss that ranges from mild to severe. The vision impairment can be temporary or permanent. Fluctuating vision is common; a child with Cortical Blindness may see an object one day but not the next. Often peripheral vision may be better than central vision. The visual loss may not be symmetrical (one eye may be worse than the other). Children with Cortical Blindness experience problems with specific types of visual tasks such as depth perception, ability to see all objects in a cluttered scene, and visual attention span. Children with Cortical Blindness may have additional disabilities. Optic atrophy (defect of the optic nerve) and optic nerve hypoplasia (congenital defect of the optic disk) are more common for children with Cortical Blindness. Some children with Cortical Blindness have additional neurological deficits such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, various spinal and cranial defects, and intellectual disability.


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