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Image: Shopping

Connor

Shopping (in a busy supermarket) ConnorShopping (in a busy supermarket) Connor

Connor (CVI Classification 1), as described by his mother:

We have started taking Connor to the supermarket when it is quiet. Key is that he is in a special trolley and facing me. I think facing out, as the camera is in this photo, would be very challenging. It is so busy, I think the thing Connor would see is the white column on the left, and he would probably walk towards it and trip over / bump into anything that was in the way. Under normal circumstances a person pushing a trolley might be enough to create a pop-out effect and draw his attention, but when it is so busy and cluttered, virtually everything is visually lost.

Mary

Shopping (in a busy supermarket) MaryShopping (in a busy supermarket) Mary

Mary (CVI Classification 3) writes: Supermarkets are one of the most challenging environments I have to deal with. Visually, I can only focus on one specific location or object at a time that pops out to me, before my gaze is pulled away to something else. In this picture, I was drawn to the red £2 and it was difficult to pull away from this to look at the rest of the scene. So, I ended up jumping from the sign to something else and then back to the sign again, which made it difficult to build up the whole scene. It's not that I can't see the rest of the visual scene, it just doesn't exist.

I am only be aware of one visual element at a time. There is also so much sensory information to process at supermarkets on top of all the visual information - different noises and smells, that distract me from moving around and finding the items I am looking for. Just heading into a supermarket makes me feel anxious. The more anxious I become, the less I am able to see. But when I am unable to find something I am looking for, the more anxious I become. A never-ending cycle that is difficult to stop.

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At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.