To identify brain lesions most often associated with cerebral visual i mpairment (CVI) after neonatal encephalopathy and to evaluate the prognostic value of MRI for visual outcome, the authors reviewed visual assessments and brain MRI of 80 infants and young children with documented perinatal hypoxic-ischaemic and/or haemorrhagic insults. MRIs were classified according to the severity of lesions at the optic radiations and at the visual cortex; visual acuity was tested with the acuity card procedure. Among the 48 children found to have a CVI, 42 had moderate to severe lesions of the optic radiations and 19 had lesions of the visual cortex. In both cases visual acuity was statically correlated with MRI grading, but the damage at the optic radiations was the better predictor. Early detection of abnormal MR findings in the visual cortex and especially, at the optic radiations may indicate which infants with neonatal encephalopthy should receive longitudinal visual assessment and specific rehabilitation and educational management.