Pediatric Cerebral Visual Impairment:: Childrens Hospital Omaha, NE


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Pediatric Cerebral Visual Impairment:: Childrens Hospital Omaha, NE

  1. 1. A National Conference on The Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Cerebral Visual Impairment Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A Professor, Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry Chicago, Il.Sponsored by:The Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of Omaha, NEThe purpose of this symposium is to bring together professionals from several fields ofstudy to share information, learn from each other, discuss controversial topics, anddevelop a document suitable for publication (web or print) detailing principals that wecan all agree upon. A second document may also be developed that discusses thecontroversies in this area and the foundations for these controversies. Thesedocuments or transactions will serve as reference guides to all involved professionals,with derivative publications for the lay public to follow.Conference Topics 1. Defining Pediatric Cerebral Visual ImpairmentThe definition of brain related visual impairment had been and even today is oftenconfusing, misunderstood and imprecise. It is now, however, frequently referred toasPediatric Cerebral Visual Impairment (PCVI). Initially Pediatric Cerebral Visual
  2. 2. Impairment had also been often referred to as Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment andmistaken for Delayed Visual Development1.Commentary in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness2noted that in NorthAmerica the phrase Cortical Visual Impairment was frequently used while elsewhereCerebral Visual Impairment was considered the preferred terminology.The story of the development of the concepts of visual impairment due to brain injurybegins in the 19th century. Later during World War I, wounded veterans with brain injurydisplayed an ability to perceive motion in the“blind, non-seeing” visual field.This ability tosense motion, lights, and colorseven though the individual has brain injury inducedblindness may be conscious or subconscious. This is also referred to as statokineticdissociation or the Riddoch phenomenon when discussing adults3.The ability to sensesuch motion was called blindsight4 which also appeared to include the ability to „sense‟objects in ones way so that these could be avoided when walking into a room or down ahall way.Prior to the 1980‟s adults with bilateral insult to the occipital cortex were referred to ashaving cortical blindness. At this time, this term was also applied to children. Corticalvisual impairment was used in the late 1980‟s onward with the definition of CVI beinginjury between the lateral geniculate nucleus and the visual cortex with reduced visualacuity being the identifying feature. When it was noted that many children had damageto the white matter surrounding the ventricals of the brain
  3. 3. (perventricularleukomalaciaPVL), the term cerebral visual impairment was coined andwas used to describe the condition (especially in Europe).Cerebral visual impairment is a more inclusive term that allows for not only significantlyreduced visual acuity but also the frequently associated oculomotor anomalies, visualfield loss, and vision information processing problems seen in children 3. Someresearchers suggest that the phrase cognitive visual dysfunction (CVD) be used toidentify the many visual perceptual anomalies associated with this condition5.Colanbrander classified the various areas associated with CVI which included:1. Ocular visual impairment: Anomalies of refractive state and optics and eye health.2. Cerebral visual impairment: Abnormalities associated with pathway problems, cortical problems, and oculomotor dysfunction as well as vision information processing (dorsal and ventral streaming processing mechanisms)6.Delayed Visual MaturationDelayed visual maturation (DVM) describes infants who appear to be visually impaired,but usually demonstrate improved visual abilities by the age of 6 months,oftenwithouttreatment. At this point the children frequently then go on to mirror more normal infantvisual development7. Even though infants with DVM were first described in the1920s,there is little consensus as to the etiology of this disorder. There are several types of
  4. 4. DVM with type I being described earlier in this paragraph. DVM type II is characterizedby problems with attention and fixation but is also usually associated with otherneurological and/or learning abnormalities. Improvement in the infant‟s vision takeslonger and the end point visual acuity is typically not of the same quality as in DVMI.Many in this category have intellectual disability, seizures, and other developmentalissues. In DVM III, the children frequently have congenital nystagmus and albinism.Their vision starts to improve later than infants with DVM type I and can improve to low-normal levels. When Delayed Visual Maturation is associated with retinal, optic nerveand macular anomalies, it is referred to as being Type IV8.Defining PCVIVariability with defining various disorders is not uncommon. For instance Autism used tobe a relatively rare anomaly. Once this definition was altered to reflect a spectrum ofindividuals with behaviors that have autistic like characteristics, the number of those onthe Spectrum is now considered (by some) to have reached almost epidemicstatus9,10,11. Interestingly the neurological/brain changes associated with this disordercan even mimic many of the behaviors seen in those with PCVI as well 12.Should we be concerned about how PVCI is defined? Absolutely! There are instanceswhere not only do the numbers of individuals increase exponentially (like Autism), butalso can decrease significantly. When the American Association on Intellectual andDevelopmental Disabilities changed the definition of mental retardation by decreasing
  5. 5. the IQ cut off point from to 80 to 70 and by adding adaptive behavior qualifications theyinstantly cured hundreds of thousands of those with mental retardation overnight13. TheAAIDD has not only changed the definition of mental retardation, but also the wordsused to describe the condition. Many years ago the classifications used such derogatoryterms as idiot and moron; then mental retardation and now, of course the preferredterminology in this area is either developmental disability or intellectual disability.What we call a thing is very important for to name it is to have power over it.2. Determining Visual Function in Children with Pediatric Cerebral Visual ImpairmentThere are a numerous areas that require a significant number of assessmentprocedures to ascertain the level of ability of those with pediatric cerebral visualimpairment. We need to assess vision function as well as functional vision.An assessment of vision function can include determination of the clarity of vision(visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, refractive error), oculomotor ability (pursuits andsaccades; convergence and divergence), accommodation (focusing), depth perception(3D vision) and eye health14,15,16. It is also often appropriate to use special diagnostictools such as the EOG (electrooculogram), ERG (electroretinogram) and the VER(visually evoked response; VEP, visual evoked potential) to determine the level of ability
  6. 6. present. Those with a wide range of disability tend to show many anomalies in thevarious areas of vision function noted above17,18,19,20.An assessment of functional vision should then be conducted. Those with disability tendto have functionally induced disability that often overlayspathologically induceddisability, so that the end result is often greater than one might expect from eitheranomaly individually. For instance a large amount of uncorrected refractive error(hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism) could cause amblyopia (a functional anomaly) thatmagnifies any vision loss due to cerebral impairment. The amblyopia also inducesnumerous vision information processing anomalies that could impede a child‟s dailyliving skill development and his or her ability to navigate the world about them. Childrenwith Down Syndrome for example have very poor accommodative abilities (focusing)that can interfere with all near-point activities from using a computer to reading abook21,22,23.Those with Cerebral Palsy will display oculomotor, visual motor integrationand accommodative problems along with high refractive errors as well24,25.Another area of concern is that of vision information processing (VIP) and thedevelopment of appropriate visual perceptual skills26. Laterality/Directionality, visualmotor integration, non-motor perceptual skills, and auditory perceptual/processing skillsall have a role to play in child development. Unfortunately those with disability tend tohave both functional vision and vision function anomalies that interfere with thedevelopment of appropriate vision and auditory information processing ability 27.
  7. 7. 3. Therapeutic Strategies For the Treatment of Pediatric Cerebral Visual ImpairmentAll treatment should begin by paying attention to the basics. These basics include thevarious areas of vision function and eye health I discussed above. Any problems thatneed to be addressed to insure the best possible eye health should be instituted. Ifuncorrected refractive error is present, it should be diagnosed and a prescription forglasses should then be given to the child. It has been noted that even correcting arelatively small amount of refractive error for those with traumatic brain injury canimprove these individuals‟ quality of life28.Remember that spectacles are not only becorrective in nature but they also can be therapeutic as well.Children with high amounts of hyperopia and those with accommodative dysfunction(includingindividuals with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and brain injury) oftenbenefit from a multi-focal prescription where an added “+” power is given either in amultifocal prescription (bifocal) or as a secondary pair of spectacles to use for specifictasks. Individuals with significantly decrease vision at near can also benefit from high “+”adds and the magnification that results.Once the refractive prescription is determined and corrected, and any therapeuticapplications addressed appropriately for use with a spectacle prescription (bifocals,prism, sector occlusion, etc), then it is time to determine other therapeutic interventionsrequired for any other vision function anomalies present.Facebook can be a unique
  8. 8. resource for therapeutic ideas as well as other internet resources(, , my presentation, given the time allowed, I will also discuss not only therapy foreye movement and hand-eye, but also accommodation, convergence/divergence, andother aspects of both vision function and functional vision including visual stimulationactivities. 4. How Do Environmental Factors, Medications and Non-Visual Handicaps Affect the Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Cerebral Visual Impairment?Individuals with a handicap tend to be prescribed many more medications than thosenot demonstrating a disability. They also often have a slightly higher affinity for thedevelopment of adverse effects due to various environmental factors. A paper inOptometrydiscussed adults with not only a developmental disability but also apsychiatric illness that noted many of these individuals were taking 10 or more,highpowered neurotropic and systemic medications. Interestingly seldom did any of theseindividuals complain of symptoms related to their disability, systemic anomalies, ormedication side effects29. Certainly those who are significantly younger than the
  9. 9. population described above may also find it difficult to communicate their needs, wantsand symptoms as well.Various medications, alternative and complementary medical therapies30 and evenmore traditional allopathic approaches to health care can result in adverse, unintendedevents.(See Table 1). Although you may think that your child is too young for many ofthese major drugs, you should realize that various psychiatric anomalies such aspediatric bipolar disorder is now one of the most frequently diagnosed mental illnessesin children. Pediatric depression is also being diagnosed often, let alone all themedications currently being used for behavioral issues such as attention deficithyperactivity disorder31.One of the major environmental hazards those with disability encounter arepeople.Many do not know how to respond to an individual with a disability. They may makeassumptions that are false and then act on those assumptions. This is true not only forlay individuals but also for teachers and health care professionals32,.
  10. 10. Table 1 Medication Side Effects Systemic Side Effects Oculovisual Side EffectsAntipsychotics Bone marrow depression Blurred vision Muscle spasms/twitches Light sensitivity Breast enlargement (M & F) Visual Disturbances High body temperature MydriasisAntidepressants Abdominal pain/constipation Blurred vision Abnormal dreams/thinking Increased risk of Glaucoma Abnormal ejaculation/orgasm Visual Disturbances Anxiety PhotophobiaAnticonvulsants Memory problems/amnesia Blurred vision Sedation Dimming of vision Insomnia Diplopia Bronchitis Involuntary eye movements Fluid retention Dry eyeAnti-Parkisons Abnormal dreams/insomnia Vision abnormalities Increased muscle tone/weakness Blurred vision Involuntary movements Mydriasis Hallucinations Decreased accommodationTranquilizers Breast development in men Risk of narrow angle GLC Breathing problems Cycloplegia/Mydriasis Insomnia Decreased vision Tardive dyskinesia Capsular cataractAntianxiety Anemia Decreased accommodation Seizures Nystagmus Blood disorders Diplopia Unusual excitement Mydriasis
  11. 11. 1 Kran BS. Vision Impairment and Brain Damage.In Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with SpecialNeeds.Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino D, Eds. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. available May 2012 from Colenbrander A. What‟s in a name? Appropriate terminology for CVI. J Vis Impair Blindness 2010;583-585. Available from accessed 3/123 Lueck AH. Cortical or Cerebral Visual Impairment in children: A Brief Over View. J Vis Impair Blindness2010;585-592.4 Alesterlund L, Maino D. That the blind may see: A review: Blindsight and its implications for optometrists.J Optom Vis Dev 1999;30(2):86-935 Good WV, Jan JE, Burden SK, Skoczenski A, Candy R. Recent advances in cortical visualimpairment. DevMed ChildNeurol 2001;43:56-60.6 Colenbrander A. The functional classification of brain damage related vision loss. J Vis Impair Blind2009;103:118-123.7 Cool SJ. Normal and adnormal visual development. In Maino D (ed). Diagnosis and Management ofSpecial Populations. Mosby-Yearbook Inc St. Louis, MO. 1995. Reprinted Optometric Education ProgramFoundation, Santa Anna, CA. 2001:1-15.8 Delayed Visual Maturation: A Visual-Inattention Problem . Available from last access 3/129 Autism: The Hidden Epidemic? Available from last accessed 3/1210 Maino DM. Viola, SG, Donati R. The Etiology of Autism. Opt Vis Dev 2009:(40)3:150-156. Availablefrom last accessed 3/1211 Maino D. Partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Optom Vis Dev 2009;40(3):134-135 available from last accessed 3/1212 Viola SG, Maino DM.Brain anatomy, electrophysiology and visual function/perception in children withinthe autism spectrum disorder. Opt Vis Dev 2009;40(3):157-163. Vailable from last accessed 3/1213 FAQ on Mental Disability.American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disability. Availablefrom last accessed 3/1214 Schlange D, Maino D. Clinical behavioral objectives: assessment techniques for special populations. InMaino D (ed) Diagnosis and Management of Special Populations Mosby-Yearbook, Inc., St. Louis, MO.1995:151-88.
  12. 12. 15 Taub M. Examination Procedures.In Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino DM (Eds).Visual Diagnosis and Careof the Patient with Special Needs.Available May 2012 from Woodhouse JM. Abnormalities of refraction and accommodation and their management.In Dutton GN,Bax M (Eds) Visual Impairment in Children due to Damage to the Brain.Clinics in DevelopmentalMedicine. Mac Kieth Press 2010: 98-105.17 Woodhouse M, Maino D. Down Syndrome. In Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino DM (Eds).Visual Diagnosisand Care of the Patient with Special Needs.Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.Available May 2012 from Berrry-Kravis E, Maino D. Fragile X Syndrome.Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.Available May 2012 from Maino D. Overview of special populations. In Scheiman M, Rouse M. (eds) Optometric management oflearning related vision problems. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Inc. 2006;85-106.20 Maino D. The young child with developmental disabilities: An introduction to mental retardation andgenetic syndromes. In Moore BD (ed) Eye care for infants and young children. Butterworth--Heinemann,Newton, MA.1997:285-300.21 Wesson M, Maino D. Oculo-visual findings in Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and mental retardationwith non-specific etiology. In Maino D (ed). Diagnosis and Management of Special Populations. Mosby-Yearbook, Inc. St. Louis, MO. 1995:17-54.22 Cregg M, Woodhouse JM, Pakeman VH, et al. Accommodation and refractive error in children withDown syndrome: cross sectional and longitudinal studies. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci. 2001;42:55-63.23 John FM, Bromham NR, Woodhouse JM, Candy TR. Spatial vision deficits in infants and children withDown syndrome. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci. 2004;45:1566-1572.24 Wesson M, Maino D. Oculo-visual findings in Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and mental retardationwith non-specific etiology. In Maino D (ed). Diagnosis and Management of Special Populations. Mosby-Yearbook, Inc. St. Louis, MO. 1995:17-54.25 Hyvarinen L. Classification of visual functioning and disability in children with visual processingdisorders.In Dutton GN, Bax M (Eds) Visual Impairment in Children due to Damage to the Brain.Clinics inDevelopmental Medicine 2010. Mac Kieth Press: 265-281.26 Scheiman M, Rouse M. (Eds) Optometric management of learning related vision problems. St. Louis,MO: Mosby Inc. 2006.27 Dutton GN, Macdonald E, Drummond SR, Saidkasimova S, Mitchell K. Clinical features of perceptualand cognitive visual impairment in children with brain damage of early onset. 2010 In Dutton GN, Bax M(Eds) Visual Impairment in Children due to Damage to the Brain. Clinics in Developmental Medicine. MacKieth Press 2010:106-116.
  13. 13. 28 Leslie S. Myopia and accommodative insufficiency associated with moderate head trauma. Optom VisDev 2009;40(1):25-31.29 RJ Donati RJ, Maino DM, Bartell H, Kieffer M. Polypharmacy and the Lack of Oculo-Visual Complaintsfrom those with Mental Illness and Dual Diagnosis.Optometry 2009;80:249-254.30 Maino D. Evidence based medicine and CAM: a review. Optom VisDev 2012;43(1):13-1731 Schnell PH, Maino DM, Jespersen R. Psychiatric Illness and AssociatedOculovisualAnomalies.Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. Available May 2012 from The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People With Disabilities - DVD & Resource Guide.available from last accessed 3/12