child hands holding a tablet with the Austin Assessment App in it over a green backgroundDecorative yellow circle

Available now:
The world’s first validated app that screens for CVI

For the first time, professionals and parents can easily learn if children are affected by CVI related visual issues. Created by the CVI community for the CVI community, this screening tool will transform lives.

What is CVI?

CVI is the most common cause of visual impairment in children in economically developed countries. CVI occurs when parts of the brain that process vision are not working typically. CVI can cause visual perception difficulties that make learning difficult for the majority of children affected. Simple changes can be transformative for these children, but the affected children need to be identified first.
Blue circle shape
1 child in every class may have CVI
Green semi circle shape with a small percentage in yellow representing 3.4%
3.4% of children in mainstream education have CVI-related issues
Yellow circle shape with a portion of it in red representing 20% left out of the 80% in yellow
80% of children with CVI may struggle with learning

A validated screening tool for CVI related visual issues

For the first time, through a fun app, taking only a few minutes to complete, with the results immediately available, we can identify these children.

Two versions of the Austin Assessment app are available. For personal use, for example a family who may suspect a child is affected by CVI, there is The Austin Assessment App. For professionals who may want to screen larger groups, including for research, there is the Austin Assessment Pro App for Professionals.

Get the Austin Assessment App

Dr Nicola McDowell is the creator and founder of the Austin Assessment. Nicola has CVI herself.

When Nicola McDowell was 16 years old, she suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. She survived but her vision, and her life, was never the same. It took 17 years for Nicola to get her CVI diagnosis. She created the Austin Assessment so no child ever has to wait that long to get the help they need.
Nichola smiling looking to the camera. She is wearing a black leather jacket

Latest news and updates

The Austin Assessment website is live! What this means to me

Image of an antique metal carved kiwi bird
Nicola introduces the Austin Assessment website, developed to support a screening tool for CVI she has been developing.
Nicola McDowell

The CVI Austin Assessment Story Part 1: Nicola

Young Nichola about to dive into a swimming pool in a swimming competition
Watch and learn Nicola’s story, how she developed CVI, and the life experience that led her to create a world-first CVI screening tool.
Nicola McDowell

Kiwi develops app to detect common visual impairment in kids

Image of Ella playing with the Austin Assessment App in her kitchen
1News reports on the development of the Austin Assessment app, and 14-year-old Ella, who has CVI, shares her story.

How the tool works

The Austin Assessment app is a fun and simple card matching game that anyone can download and use. Designed for children, the game is fun to play and helps children, their parents and professionals to understand how their vision works, so they can get the help they need to thrive.

Learn more about how the app works

See our results page for information on what to do if you have a positive result, or if you have a negative result you were not expecting.

CVI is a common but often undiagnosed condition that children around the world struggle with. Diagnosis can be costly and hard to get.



14-year-old brain tumour survivor, with CVI
Profile photo
“I always felt dumb. So it was a big relief to find out that there’s an actual reason for that, that I’m not just not smart. It’s just made me a lot happier.”

Professor Gordon Dutton

Paediatric ophthalmologist
Profile photo
“It is a unique test. Nothing like it has ever been invented.”


Mother of 8-year-old P, who has CVI
Profile photo
“The Austin Assessment has made me, as a parent, much more aware of how much effort it takes for her to be able to see.”

Our partners and sponsors

Springload Te Pipitanga Logo
Springload Te Pipitanga Logo
Massey Ventures logo
CVI Scotland logo
A tablet with the Austin Assessment app opened. The main menu shows Play, Scores, Results, and Options buttons.

Get the app today

Download the iPhone and iPad app for personal or professionals.