Aim: We sought to characterize visual motion processing in children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) due to periventricular white matter damage caused by either hydrocephalus (eight individuals) or periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) associated with prematurity (11 individuals).
Method: Using steady-state visually evoked potentials (ssVEP), we measured cortical activity related to motion processing for two distinct types of visual stimuli: 'local' motion patterns thought to activate mainly primary visual cortex (V1), and 'global' or coherent patterns thought to activate higher cortical visual association areas (V3, V5, etc.). We studied three groups of children: (1) 19 children with CVI (mean age 9y 6mo [SD 3y 8mo]; 9 male; 10 female); (2) 40 neurologically and visually normal comparison children (mean age 9y 6mo [SD 3y 1mo]; 18 male; 22 female); and (3) because strabismus and amblyopia are common in children with CVI, a group of 41 children without neurological problems who had visual deficits due to amblyopia and/or strabismus (mean age 7y 8mo [SD 2y 8mo]; 28 male; 13 female).
Results: We found that the processing of global as opposed to local motion was preferentially impaired in individuals with CVI, especially for slower target velocities (p=0.028).
Interpretation: Motion processing is impaired in children with CVI. ssVEP may provide useful and objective information about the development of higher visual function in children at risk for CVI.
© The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2011.