Jump to Navigation

Cortical Blindness

Is Your Newborn Experiencing Neurological Visual Impairment (NVI)?

The deprivation of oxygen during birth can result in serious injuries to your newborn's brain. One of those injuries may be damage to the visual cortex, resulting in neurological visual impairment (NVI) or cortical blindness. Despite its name, this condition is a problem with the brain sending and receiving visual messages, not with the parts of the eye themselves.

Most children retain some ability to see, making cortical "blindness" a bit of a misnomer. However, very few children will regain full visual capabilities if they suffer a birth injury to the visual cortex that results in cortical blindness.

Many adults who were born with NVI do learn to see, but report that doing so takes substantial concentration. It may take time for your child to learn how to see if he or she has NVI simply because there is so much for newborns to take in, making it difficult to focus on actually seeing a specific object.

How Will I Know If My Child Has Cortical Blindness?

An examination of the eye by a medical professional will likely confirm whether your child's eyes are functioning properly. Keep in mind that cortical blindness is a condition of the brain - the real indicator that your child is affected is a lack of reaction to visual stimulus or an inability to fix his or her eyes on an object to follow that object.

A pediatric eye specialist can diagnose whether your child has NVI and, if so, what range of visual impairment he or she has. NVI or CVI is scaled on a range of 1-10; knowing where your child is on this impairment scale will help ensure that he or she receives proper treatment strategies to assist with recovering any portion of vision.

Common Causes Of Cortical Blindness

NVI is common in children born with cerebral palsy. If your child suffered from a deprivation of oxygen during birth, including hypoxia, ischemia or asphyxia, he or she may have experienced damage to the visual cortex that will affect your baby's sight.

Symptoms of cortical blindness can be easily confused with symptoms associated with other types of birth injuries and traumas. Delayed speech, an inability or lack of interest in focusing and delayed social skills can all be signs of cortical blindness; however, they can also be signs of more encompassing brain trauma as well.

Where Can You Turn For Help?

At The Birth Injury Team, we are a group of medical and legal professionals who are here to help you get the assistance you need for your child when medical negligence causes a serious, long-term injury. We can answer your questions, point you toward helpful resources and pursue your legal rights against a doctor, nurse, midwife or other health care professional who contribute to your child experiencing cortical blindness because of a lack of oxygen during birth.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

En Español
SL&W | Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman | Attorneys At Law | Have Your Case Reviewed by our Legal and Medical Team Download Our Brochure | Coping with a Birth Injury

Ask Us a Question?

Contact us toll free at: 215-227-2727 or
contact us by using the free case review form below:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy