Developmental Vision Clinic

The Developmental Vision Clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is a specialist clinic for children with visual disorders and impairment.

The clinic is for children with visual impairment and provides assessment of your child’s development. Based on these findings we will make practical recommendations to help your child at home or school.

We also carry out assessments of your child’s level of functional vision to consider how this vision can be used to support everyday activities and learning. This should complement information available from your child’s eye doctor (ophthalmologist).

We work closely with local services, including specialist advisory teachers, to provide advice and support for parents and local professionals.

Members of the team

The team have specialist expertise in understanding and supporting the development and progress of children with visual impairment. The team members vary depending on the child’s need, but will generally include a consultant paediatrician and clinical psychologist and sometimes an occupational therapist or speech and language therapist.

Who we see

  • Infants and young children whose main problem is severe visual impairment. We aim to see these children as soon as possible after diagnosis to ensure parents and professionals receive support and advice early to avoid any preventable delays in development. These children will be offered follow up appointments.
  • Older children with severe visual impairment where there is a specific concern about development (for example, communication difficulties, slow progress at school, difficulty in forming social relationships or behaviour difficulties).
  • Children who have visual impairment and additional disabilities to consider questions about vision or development.
  • Children with known or suspected cerebral visual impairment, to provide vision and developmental assessment to clarify such difficulties and their impact in further detail.

The clinic visit

An appointment date and time will be agreed with you in advance. Appointments are longer than some other hospital appointments and may involve some waiting, so do bring a snack. Do please bring copies of local assessment reports. You are welcome to bring local professionals, but please inform the clinic administrator in advance.

The assessment usually takes the following format:

  1. Time is spent talking to you to learn about your child’s history and current behaviour and to understand your concerns and questions.
  2. An assessment of your child’s vision and development will follow, with you closely involved.
  3. The team will spend a short time together to consider the findings of the assessment.
  4. We finish by discussing with you the results of the assessment and our recommendations.
  5. You will be given a short summary of the findings and recommendations and a full report will be sent to you later.
We may ask for your permission to video record the assessment for clinical and training purposes.

Audit and research in the Developmental Vision Clinic

  • We keep a secure registered database of clinical information for audit purposes that may be used to improve quality of care. All data is strictly confidential and will only be used in an anonymous way (so no child can be identified).
  • We also use anonymised patient data, collected during routine care, to understand more about the development of children with visual impairment. This increases our knowledge of children’s conditions and the impact of our care. In addition, we are actively involved in ethics approved research projects and may ask you and your child if you are interested in hearing more about how you could take part. 
  • The Developmental Journal for infants and young children with vision impairment is available here