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Checklist for Functional Vision Assessment: Infants and Toddlers

Bring the following

  • silent flashlight with colored caps
  • reflective surface (mirror, CD, metallic bowl)
  • black-and-white design (checkerboard, bull’s eye, parallel lines, outline face)
  • round yellow object (ball, balloon, ring, toy)
  • toy with holes in it (ball, ring, block, plastic lid with holes in it)
  • object with an unusual texture (Koosh ball, spiny toy, bumpy toy)

Objects to use from the natural environment

  • bottle
  • cup
  • small foods (Cheerios, Chex, crackers, banana pieces, etc.)
  • child’s own toys (which preferred? what size/shape/color?)

Observations in the natural environment

Child’s preferred positions (during play)

  • on back?
  • on tummy?
  • rolling? (back to tummy? tummy to back?)
  • sitting? (alone? propped? in Mother’s arm?)
  • creeping (“scooting” with tummy on floor)?
  • crawling (on hands and knees)?
  • standing? (alone? hands held?)
  • walking? (hands held? “cruises” around furniture? independently?)

Appearance of eyes

  • appear healthy (no scaliness or crustiness of lids; no excessive tearing; whites of eyes not yellowish or reddened)?
  • clear pupils (black, not cloudy)?
  • eyes aligned (appear to move together)?
  • eyes steady (no repetitive, jerky movements)?


  • pupillary response (pupils constrict and dilate to light)?
  • Hirschberg response (light reflections aligned)?
  • fixation? (for about how long? for what kinds of objects?)
  • following? (follows a moving target? what kind of target? how far away?)
    • toys?
    • people?
  • shifts gaze (from one object to another and back)?
  • visually directed reach (looks at object being reached for)?
  • imitates facial expressions?
  • recognizes familiar silent faces? (at what distance?)
  • uses vision to explore?
  • motivated by vision to attempt to get or move toward object?
  • examines objects at near point visually?
  • finger-feeds (can locate a food piece on the tray and feed self)?
  • interested in pictures and books?


  • Can the child can fixate and follow, at what distance, and with what size and color objects?
  • Can the child use vision to explore? At what distance?
  • Does the child have a visually directed reach? How accurate is it?
  • Is the child able to grasp? What type of grasp is it?
  • Does the child possess the physical ability to move:
    • Can the child sit? Is the sitting developmentally appropriate?
    • Can the child creep or crawl? Is the crawl developmentally appropriate?
    • Can the child walk? Is the walk developmentally appropriate?


Bishop, V. (2004). Checklist for functional vision assessment: Birth to 3. Chapel Hill, NC: Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH.

Visual Conditions Module 07/27/04

S4 Handout C

EIVI-FPG Child Development Institute