Delayed visual maturation (DVM) is seen in newborns who initially appear as if they cannot see or are unable to follow any objects. This usually improves by about 4-6 months of age, but sometimes can take up to 12 months of age to completely resolve. The eye exam will be normal and if an MRI is performed, the brain will also be normal. The underlying cause of DVM is not known, but vision will improve, and vision will “catch up” to normal. These children often manifest other signs of delayed neurological development (milestones). Delayed visual maturation can also be seen with infantile spasms and vision improves when the infantile spasms are treated.
Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) and DVM can sometimes look the same at first, but vision will improve to normal in DVM. In CVI, vision can sometimes improve, but never to normal. In addition, in CVI there is an underlying neurological problem in the brain that causes the abnormal vision.