PURPOSE. We sought to characterize neural motion processing deficits in children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) who have good visual acuity using an objective, quantifiable method (steady-state visual evoked potentials [SSVEPs]).
METHODS. We recorded SSVEPs in response to three types of visual motion – absolute motion and more complex relative and rotary motion, comparing them to form-related vernier and contour responses. We studied a group of 31 children with CVI diagnosed via detailed clinical examinations and 28 age-matched healthy controls.
RESULTS. Using measurements made at the appropriate response harmonics of the stimulation frequency, we found significant deficits in cerebral processing of relative and rotary motion but not of absolute motion in children with CVI compared with healthy controls. Vernier acuity, in keeping with good recognition acuity in both groups, was not different, nor were contour-related form responses.
CONCLUSIONS. Deficits for complex motion but relative sparing of elementary motion and form-related signals suggests preferential damage to extra-striate visual motion areas in children with CVI. The fact that these preferential losses occur in the absence of significant acuity loss indicates that they are not secondary to reduced visual acuity, but rather are an independent vulnerability in CVI. These results corroborate parental and caregivers’ reports of difficulties with tasks that involve motion perception in children with CVI.