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General Information

This Special Visual Assessment Clinic (SVAC) provides an extensive assessment of the visual abilities of individuals who have physical and/or cognitive impairments and who cannot participate in usual testing procedures available in the other clinics of the School of Optometry.

The clinic serves individuals from birth through adulthood; most commonly school-aged children with multiple disabilities and significant vision impairment. A complete eye and vision examination is given including an assessment of refractive error, binocular vision, vision function and ocular health. Both behavioral and objective (Visual Evoked Potential) techniques are used to access vision function including visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, color vision and visual fields. The goals of the clinic are to provide parents, guardians, teachers, physical and occupational therapists with information regarding the individual’s visual capabilities and to offer optical, educational and other adaptive recommendations.


  • To advance the knowledge, proficiency and exposure of the optometric clinician in the diagnosis, treatment and management of eye and vision disorders in “difficult to examine” special populations (infants, children and adults with multiple disabilities). The majority of the patients seen are school-aged children with cerebral palsy and seizure disorders. About 73% of the patients seen qualify as legally blind, 60% are non-verbal and 50% are non-mobile.
  • The optometric clinician will advance their diagnostic skills in determination of refractive error and quantification of strabismus. Representative eye and vision disorders seen in the SVAC clinic include refractive error (significant and most often previously uncorrected anisometropia, high ametropias, astigmatism), strabismus (accommodative esotropia, exotropia, non-commitant deviations), and sensory or motor nystagmus.
  • The optometric clinician will advance their diagnostic skills in ocular health due to the high prevalence of ocular disorders in patients with multiple disabilities. Prevalent causes of vision impairment in patients seen in SVAC include cortical visual impairment, optic nerve atrophy and/or hypoplasia, retinopathy of prematurity, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, albinism, ptosis, and cataracts.
  • The optometric clinician will advance their knowledge of systemic disorders and associated eye findings in this diverse clinical population. Representative systemic disorders include cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, prematurity, chromosomal abnormalities, and metabolic disorders.
  • The optometric clinician will interact with a multi-disciplinary assessment team and obtain skills in discussing the optometric findings with teachers of the visually impaired, therapists and concerned parents who want to know “what their child can see.”

The examination takes about two hours. Fees are $234 for the examination and $175 for the sweep visual evoked potential test. Additional office visit fees are $80 for follow-up.