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Cortical Visual Impairment Center of Excellence

Learn about Anchor Center's Strategic Focus

Our Vision

As a leader in the field of pediatric vision impairment Anchor Center intends to change this landscape with a new endeavor that will broaden Anchor’s scope, benefit children and families, and impact the field of pediatric vision impairment overall — The Anchor Center of Excellence  for Pediatric Vision Impairment.

As a new branch of service, the Anchor Center of Excellence for Pediatric Vision Impairment will add three core competencies to Anchor Center for Blind Children: 1) highly specialized [CVI] screening and assessment services; 2) research to advance [understanding of CVI and] the field of pediatric vision impairment overall; and 3) training for parents, caregivers, educators and healthcare professionals on the application of evidence-based and best practices.

Importantly, while this endeavor is focused on the further development of Anchor Center as a Center of Excellence (CoE), the CoE will not replace or override Anchor’s hallmark programs or services. Rather, the CoE will expand Anchor’s field of influence by adding “vision and the brain” to Anchor’s longstanding “vision and the eye” expertise.

About Pediatric Vision Impairments

A wide range of factors can cause blindness and visual impairments in children, including: rare chromosomal anomalies, birth trauma, neurological issues, brain tumors, viruses, infections and accidents. Among the thousands of diagnoses seen at Anchor Center, the most common are Strabismus, Albinism, Retinopathy of Prematurity and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. Notably, as the only center in the Rocky Mountain region focused on specializing in early childhood vision impairments, Anchor Center also serves children who have very rare genetic disorders in which less than a handful of children in the world have ever been diagnosed. Today, the most common cause of pediatric visual impairment across the globe and most certainly reflected at Anchor Center, is Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). Over 50% of the children served at Anchor Center have been diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment.

Unlike vision conditions which are associate with eye-health or structure, Cortical Vision Impairment is a brain-based vision impairment and a neurological condition in which the child’s eyes are functioning and “healthy”, but his/her brain is unable to process or interpret visual stimulus and information — therefore causing the child to function as if s/he is blind or visually impaired.

Further, as a complex neurological disorder, CVI is often associated with other medical challenges, including premature birth, birth trauma, traumatic brain injury, and seizures. As commonly reported by researchers, doctors, and practitioners, children with CVI often have co-occurring physical, cognitive and neurological impairments, including cerebral palsy and/or other physical challenges, significant learning disabilities, and moderate to severe communication difficulties. Currently, nearly all of the children diagnosed with CVI at Anchor Center have co-occurring physical and neurological impairments.

Unfortunately, there is not a cure for CVI. However, there is hope; hope for better outcomes and even, for some children, improved vision provided they are diagnosed and receive CVI interventions early in life. It’s this hope that is driving Anchor’s decision to create a Center of Excellence for Pediatric Vision Impairment; its first call to action will be the development of a reliable, research-tested, CVI screening protocol for newborns and infants.

CVI Resources

Resources for parents and educators of children with CVI.

Perkins School CVI Hub

Perkins School for the Blind resources for parents, educators and school districts.

Perkins CVI Hub
Perkins CVI Webinar

This webcast features Dr. Christine Roman presenting an overview of cortical visual impairment (CVI).

Perkins CVI Webinar
Dr. Gordon Dutton's Blog

The co-author of Visual Impairment in Children due to Damage to the Brain, and Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children, Dutton currently pursues his special interest in cerebral visual impairment due to brain damage in children.

Dr. Dutton Blog - CVI Scotland
Ellen Mazel Blog

Ellen works as the CVI Project Manager for Perkins School for the Blind and teaches Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment: Assessment and Education in the Vision Studies graduate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Ellen Mazel Blog - CVI Teacher
Perkins-Roman CVI Range© Endorsees Directory

Search through this directory for Perkins-Roman CVI Range© Endorsees who have gone through a rigorous skills and knowledge test, video case study test and recommendation process.

Perkins-Roman CVI Range© Endorsees Directory
CVI Scotland

The website is designed to be owned by those affected by CVI, and grow with them.

CVI Scotland
Little Bear Sees

The goal of the foundation is to provide families in need with the information, products and tools to help their children with cortical visual impairment (CVI) learn to see.

Little Bear Sees
CVI Momifesto

CVI Momifesto: A written statement from a frustrated mom publicly stating her intentions, motives, and views about what needs to be done for children with CVI.

CVI Momifesto
Start Seeing CVI

Start Seeing CVI was created in 2014 to increase awareness and understanding of cortical visual impairment.

Start Seeing CVI