A Glimpse Into Cortical Vision Impairment – (Video)
Jessica was born with a malformation of her brain in the occipital region and has been blind since birth. This is called Cortical Blindness, Cortical Vision Impairment (CVI), and sometimes Neurological Vision Impairment.
I know that Jess doesn’t ‘look’ blind and people are often confused when I use the word ‘blind’. Not all people with CVI are blind.
Jess has no vision in her right eye due to the part of her brain that is missing. She is totally blind in that eye. Jess only has a small window of distorted vision in her left eye. This is also due to missing brain. In other words, Jess is blind, but does not experience total blindness.
Most of our videos are recorded in our home, family homes, and in our car. Jess navigates like an expert in familiar environments, which is why people don’t recognize right away that she has a vision impairment. Also, Jess has what seems like bionic hearing and uses that to help navigate and find things.
I think this video of Jess in the pool trying to find Hoku’s toy demonstrates Jessica’s vision issues better than anything else I have ever captured on camera. A few things to note:
– Jess has yet to learn Left, Right, In Front of, and Behind which complicates giving her directions to find things.
– The fluorescent orange color of the toy is a color Jessica has never been able to see well. She also doesn’t see fluorescent yellow very well. Weird, huh?
– With cortical vision impairment, people can see items better when they are against a contrasting background. It seems that Jess does better finding the toy when she is face in the house versus facing the backyard.
Jess relies on her hearing so much that I think one contributing factor here are the fountains being on and loud. Jess wasn’t able to hear where the dog was, or the splash of the toy falling in the pool. Also, the dog was standing pretty still. If Hoku had been moving more, Jess might have been able to see the movement.
Here is the cool thing though, sometimes we can coach Jess into recognizing things. In the beginning of the video, Jess can’t see the toy when it is RIGHT in front of her. After a while, Jess had learned how to visually scan for it and find it.