One of the most difficult things to deal with as a parent is having your child endure intrusive tests to confirm an adverse medical diagnosis. If your child’s doctor is recommending tests to diagnose a neurological visual impairment, they might recommend a variety of tests that include one or more of the following:
- Visual acuity
- Crowding ratio
- Visual field assessment
- Ophthalmologic exam
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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Among the tests to diagnose a neurological visual impairment is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI exam can last up to an hour and will require your son or daughter to remain motionless. It uses computer-generated radio waves to create cross-sectioned, detailed pictures of your child’s organs and tissues.
An MRI is noninvasive and lets your child’s doctor see inside their body via high-resolution, 3D images. Your child’s doctor should discuss the results of the MRI with you and other members of their medical team.
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Visual Acuity Tests to Diagnose a Neurological Visual Impairment
Assessments to diagnose neurological visual impairment will almost certainly include visual acuity tests, which are done to measure sight from specific distances. A visual acuity test is common– you might see the standardized eye charts used for older children and adults in schools, department stores, and at doctor’s offices. If your child is old enough to read, their eyes will be checked one at a time using letters or numbers. In infants and children too young to read, more age-appropriate tests are administered.
Visual acuity is measured in fractions, like 20/20, with the top number being distance and the bottom number being the average distance of a person with normal eyesight. Your child’s doctor should review their visual acuity and discuss their results in relation to their diagnosis of neurological visual impairment.
Visual Field Assessment
Visual field assessments are done to measure your child’s visual field. The visual field is the area of peripheral vision, or how far they can see out of the sides of their eyes when focused on an object in front of them.
- Confrontation visual field exam is a quick assessment of your child’s visual field
- Tangent screen test is an assessment of your child’s vision in relation to their brain and nerves
- Goldmann Tests are an assessment of your child’s field of vision
Abnormal visual field assessments can indicate central nervous system disorders and/or too much pressure on certain parts of your child’s brain. Your child’s physician should discuss the results of this exam and their possible pattern of vision loss.
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An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in assessing and treating eye disorders. They will assess your child’s symptoms and the appearance of their eyes and surrounding areas. An ophthalmologic exam might include measuring the way light enters your child’s eyes and measuring how their cranial nerves control the muscles that move their eyes.
Some common ophthalmological tests are:
- Refraction testing to determine if your child is having trouble focusing their eyes
- Visual field-testing to measure how your child sees out of each eye individually
- The Amsler Grid determines your child’s central area of vision
- Color vision testing measures how your child sees and perceives color
Ophthalmologists use an instrument called an ophthalmoscope–a handheld device that looks like a small flashlight–to examine your child’s cornea, lenses, retinas, and optic nerves.
An ophthalmologist might also use tools like a slit lamp to aim bright light into your child’s eyes and assess their eyes under extreme magnification. It gives the doctor a three-dimensional view of your child’s eye. The ophthalmologist will sometimes use eye drops to dilate our child’s pupils for this exam.
Finally, an ophthalmologist might use tonometry to measure the pressure in your child’s eye. Tonometry is often used to test for glaucoma using a portable, handheld device and numbing eye drops.
Birth Injury Lawyers with Neurological Visual Impairment Experience
If you believe your child is suffering from neurological visual impairments, the tests and examinations they undergo will help their medical team to reach a conclusive diagnosis that can help them formulate an effective treatment plan.
A lawyer can help you develop the right legal strategy to help recover the financial costs of your child’s current and ongoing medical care and treatments. For a free case review, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529.