Background:Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is a major cause of visual impairment, with very preterm birth/very low birth weight (VP/VLBW) being a major risk factor. There is no generally accepted definition of CVI. This study aims to investigate the usefulness of an empirically-based functional definition of CVI.Methods:One-hundred-five VP/VLBW children and 67 controls participated. CVI was defined after comprehensive oculomotor, visual sensory and perceptive assessment, and validated against vision problems in daily life and in terms of intellectual, behavioral, emotional and social functioning, as well as use of therapeutic services.Results:Twenty-four per cent of the VP/VLBW children met criteria for CVI, compared to 7% of controls (P = 0.006, OR: 3.86, 95% CI: 1.40-10.70). VP/VLBW children with CVI had lower performance IQ, but not verbal IQ, than those without CVI. Visual problems in daily life were confirmed in VP/VLBW children classified with CVI. Additionally, difficulties in behavioral and social functioning were most prominent among VP/VLBW children with CVI.Conclusion:In VP/VLBW children, CVI defined in terms of visual function deficits is accompanied by intellectual, behavioral, and social impairments, validating our operational definition of CVI. CVI might act as a marker for developmental problems in VP/VLBW children.