Purpose: Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is the most common cause of bilateral vision impairment in children in Western countries. Better quantitative tools for measuring vision are needed to assess these children, to allow measurement of their visual deficit, and to monitor their response to treatment and rehabilitation. The author performed a series of experiments to assess the use of the sweep visual evoked potential (VEP) as a quantitative tool for measuring vision in CVI.
Methods: The first experiment was a reliability measure (test/retest) of VEP grating acuity thresholds of 23 children with CVI. To validate the VEP procedure, VEP grating acuity was compared to a clinical measure of vision, the Huo scale, and to a psychophysical measure of vision, the Teller Acuity Card procedure. Finally, the sweep VEP was tested as a tool for defining optimal luminance conditions for grating acuity in 13 children with CVI, by measuring grating thresholds under 2 different luminance conditions: 50 and 100 candela per square meter (cd/m2).
Results: Retest thresholds were similar to original thresholds (r2 = 0.662; P = .003, 1-tailed t test). Grating VEP measures correlate significantly with the clinical index (r2 = 0.63; P = .00004). Teller acuity measurements are also similar to VEP measures in children (r2 = 0.64; P = .0005) but show lower acuities compared to the VEP for children with particularly low vision. Finally, 3 of 13 children tested under 2 background luminance conditions showed paradoxical improvement in grating threshold with dimmer luminance.
Conclusions: The sweep VEP tool is a reliable and valid means for measuring grating acuity in children with CVI. The tool also shows promise as a means of determining the optimal visual environment for children with CVI.