Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is a form of vision loss that results from damage to your child’s visual cortex as opposed to a defect in their eyes. It is a serious condition characterized by significant visual dysfunction and is caused by a birth injury to your child’s visual pathways and structures that occurs during perinatal development.
Depending on the exact location and severity of the damage, children with CVI may exhibit a variety of vision issues and impairments. The most often observed impairment is in the way visual processing works and the impact it has on your child’s learning and development.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
The Signs of Perinatal Hypoxia
Perinatal asphyxia, sometimes called birth asphyxia, is the result of your newborn not receiving enough oxygen before, during, or immediately after their birth. In some cases, perinatal asphyxia can result in cortical visual impairment (CVI). Symptoms of perinatal asphyxia include:
- Low heart rate
- Poor skin color
- Low Apgar score
- Weak muscle tone
- Abnormal fetal heart rate
- Meconium stained amniotic fluid
- Low pH levels indicating too much acid
This decrease in oxygen causes chemical changes in your baby’s body, such as an excessive build-up of acid in their blood.
Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
The Visual Cortex
Your child’s visual cortex is the part of their brain that processes visual signals. As the core cortical region of your child’s brain, the visual cortex receives, integrates, and processes visual information as it is relayed via their retinas. The visual cortex is found in the occipital lobe of the primary cerebral cortex–the most posterior region of your baby’s brain.
The Symptoms of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)
Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is now the leading cause of congenital visual impairment in children in the United States. Children with CVI will often display motor and cognitive impairments typically associated with cerebral palsy. CVI is a major cause of low vision in children in pediatric and neonatal care and is characterized in many combinations and degrees. CVI is common in children with cerebral palsy and is easily identified using a structured approach to medical history and observance of symptoms.
If your child has a cortical visual impairment (CVI), they might display symptoms like decreased visual acuity and perception, an impaired visual field, and impairments in higher-order visual processing and attention. Your child’s doctor will perform specific medical and vision tests to reach a conclusive diagnosis.
The Causes of My Child’s Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)
Clinical testing and examinations indicate the cause of cortical visual impairment (CVI) as an abnormal medical history. Primary causes include:
- Perinatal hypoxia
An abnormal prenatal or perinatal medical history is the most significant risk factor for CVI. Your son or daughter with CVI may exhibit symptoms like low Apgar scores, cerebral palsy, visual field defects, and partial optic atrophy.
Interpreting the Apgar Score
The Apgar score is generated from two quick tests performed on each newborn–once at one minute after birth, then again at five minutes after birth. The Apgar test examines your baby’s breathing, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color and then rates each aspect between zero and two.
- Breathing Effort: not breathing = 0, slow or irregular breathing = 1, crying well = 2
- Heart Rate: no heartbeat = 0, less 100 bpm = 1, greater than 100 bpm = 2
- Muscle Tone: loose and floppy = 0, some muscle tone = 1, active motion = 2
- Reflexes: no reaction = 0, grimacing = 1, vigorous cry = 2
- Skin Color: pale blue = 0, pink with blue extremities = 1, entire pink body = 2
The one-minute score defines how well your baby tolerated the birth process. The five-minute score defines how well the baby tolerates being outside your womb.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Cerebral palsy occurs when the areas of your child’s brain that control movement and posture do not develop correctly or are damaged. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that will affect your child’s ability to move and maintain muscle control. Children with cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking and performing tasks that require fine and gross motor skills. The impact cerebral palsy has on functionality varies greatly and can include developmental and intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, vision impairments, and hearing impairments.
Filing a Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Birth Injury Lawsuit
If your child suffered from an injury at birth and has limited, little, or no vision as a result, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit on their behalf. Cortical visual impairment (CVI) will present your son or daughter with a lifetime of challenges and limitations. Your attorney can help you understand how you can receive financial compensation that allows you to provide your child with the best medical care possible. For a free case evaluation, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to speak with a lawyer in your state.