Cerebral visual impairment in children

Semin Neonatol. 2001 Dec;6(6):477-85. doi: 10.1053/siny.2001.0078.


Much of the brain is devoted to vision. Damage causes visual problems ranging from profound impairment, to cognitive visual problems only. A child with cerebral blindness may have intact perception of movement. The principal cognitive visual pathways comprise the dorsal and the ventral streams. The dorsal stream runs between the occipital lobes (which process incoming visual data), the posterior parietal lobes (which process the whole visual scene and give attention to component parts), the motor cortex (which facilitates movement through the visual scene) and the frontal cortex (which directs attention to chosen parts of the visual scene). The ventral stream runs between the occipital lobes and the temporal lobes (which enable recognition of people and objects, facilitate route finding and serve visual memory). Damage to these pathways disrupts these functions in a variety of combinations. This paper reviews cerebral visual impairment in children, the differential diagnosis and the management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness, Cortical / diagnosis*
  • Blindness, Cortical / etiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / complications
  • Brain Diseases / complications
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / complications
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / complications