VISIBLE: Vision Intervention for Seeing Impaired Babies

18 Dec 2018
VISIBLE trainers
VISIBLE Trainers, Federica D'Acunto, Adina Bancale, A/Prof. Andrea Guzzetta (L-R).

Visual impairment in children with cerebral palsy (CP) is very common with a prevalence of 40 to 50%. The majority of children with CP have visual problems due to a neurological impairment not caused by ocular lesions, and in about 1 in 10 cases the condition is severe. The role of vision difficulties in the context of rehabilitation is often overlooked so there is an urgent need for the development of evidence-based vision interventions for infants and toddlers with cerebral vision impairments.

The VISIBLE study, is a pilot randomised controlled trial to address a gap in rehabilitative interventions for infants with brain damage and severe vision impairments. Infants will be identified from neonatal follow-up programs and early detection networks in Pisa (Italy), Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Thirty-two Infants with a diagnosis of CP or diagnosis of ‘high risk of CP’ with a severe visual impairment will be recruited between 3-6 months corrected age. The infants will be randomised into the VISIBLE program or the standard of care (SoC) group. VISIBLE is an early intervention program based on the core principles of optimising the infant’s visual experience during the first phases of development. The general principles are activity-dependent learning and environmental enrichment.

VISIBLE therapists from across Australia undertook the intervention training in Brisbane in October delivered by A/Prof. Andrea Guzzetta and his team from the SMILE lab in Pisa. The study has ethics approval and will commence recruitment in south east Queensland, Townsville and Cairns in early 2019.

Contact Details: Dr Tracey Evans, VISIBLE Clinical Research Coordinator, (07) 3069 7365,  

This project is funded by Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Chief Investigators: Prof Roslyn Boyd, Prof Andrea Guzzetta, Prof Iona Novak, Dr Cathy Morgan, Dr Alison Salt, Dr Catherine Elliott, Prof Glen Gole, Dr Swetha Philip, Prof Nadia Badawi, Prof Stephen Rose, Dr Jurgen Fripp, Dr Kerstin Pannek.