The Spectrum of CVI - Ranges and Phases

Author-Avatar Deirdre Galvin-McLaughlin

5/7/2018 8:50 PM

It is important to consider where your child is at with their visual abilities to best structure activities in a way that encourages them to use their vision, while building on their current skills. Similar to learning to read or write, it takes structured and strategy teaching, as well as plenty of time to practice! 

A key question to consider is: what do I need to know as a parent and provider related to the different stages and phases of CVI? The best method to identifying your child's visual abilities is to make an appointment with a vision specialist to assess how their eye structures and functions are working (pediatric optometrist or pediatric ophthalmologist). Once they have been given corrective lenses or any other visually appropriate supports, it is then important to request an functional visual evaluation with a teacher for the visually impaired to best identify how your child is functionally using vision. 

The book by Christine Roman-Lantzy (2018) is an invaluable resource to best understand the ranges and phases associated with cortical visual impairment. To summarize the difference between ranges and phases based on the information provided in Christine Roman-Lantzy’s book: 

Range 1-10 - this is the scale that is completing through a functional vision assessment to determine what visual level the child is at to then strategically plan interventions that are appropriate to progress their visual abilities through the range of visual ability levels. 

Phase I-III - these separate the visual range of abilities into three distinct areas to then identify the optimal supports to promote the child’s use of functional vision, the phases are useful in identifying where the child is at in their functional use of vision and to provide ample learning opportunities that help progress them to ultimately using their vision throughout all daily tasks and activities.  

Phases and Ranges of CVI

Within the book by Christine Roman-Lantzy (2018), parents and providers are given specific intervention ideas based on the child’s phase with strategies to begin to incorporate vision for functional activities. For example, a child who does not regularly look at toys or objects would need specialized environmental supports and adaptations that encourage them to simply look at things. While a child who is consistently looking at objects and high contrast games on the iPad, would be encouraged to use their vision to activate a switch or look while playing with a bright toy in their hands.

The book by Christine Roman-Lantzy can be purchased on (click for link to book) or and is an amazing resource for parents and professionals working with children with CVI to get a better understanding of the ranges/phases associated with each child's visual ability levels. 



Roman-Lantzy, C. (2018). Cortical visual impairment: An approach to assessment and intervention. New York: AFB Press.

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