Functional vision assessment for a very young child

Visual function is how a child functions visually within the everyday environment. A functional vision assessment (FVA) is carried out by a QTVI and provides ‘real life’ information on how a child uses their sight, for example at home or in an early years setting. The test will involve some clinical test materials and informal observations.

In the early years, a QTVI can work with parents at home and also in early years settings. During the sessions, the focus may be on visual enhancement but all information gathered will help formulate a FVA. With babies it may be as simple as do the eyes react when the light is put on, can they fix and follow an object?

A functional vision assessment may include information such as:

  • Child A can follow a 5 cm yellow ball from left to right at 50 cm.
  • Child A was observed responding to Mum as she stood silently in door way 3m away.

More standardised functional vision assessments in the early years include:

  • Cardiff Acuity Test (Cardiff Cards) which is a preferential looking test.
  • Hiding Heidi – this is a contrast test and can assess near and distance acuity.
  • An assessment called BUST for near vision testing.