Vision entails much more than just observing small, static letters in high contrast like reading the letter chart on a wall in an optometry office. Vision is a dynamic process that needs to operate in an ever-changing environment with varying light and conditions. Vision is involved with spatial awareness and orientation so is linked to the movement system (proprioception) and the balance system (vestibular).
Visual processing is susceptible to stress, ageing, health issues, medication and trauma such as in brain injury and physical injury.
Many parents ask us how their child’s visual processing is assisting or hindering their learning. Efficient visual processing is important for reading and learning to accurately and easily use their eyes to extract information off the page or computer screen/ tablet. As optometrists, we do not diagnose dyslexia which is determined by an educational psychologist assessing language factors.
Developmentally, visual processing skills are built on a foundation of movement such as crawling and walking as well as metabolism and early childhood experiences and stimulation. A rich, three-dimensional learning environment with a variety of motor experiences is key.
Vision is one of the higher level sensory skills that is important for easy, automatic learning. The information gleaned from an in-depth evaluation of binocular vision (eye teaming) gives some insight in to the ease of learning.
We use the assessment methods from behavioural optometry to assess binocular vision status. It is a world of eye movements, accommodation and vergences. This model of vision assessment puts the measurements of eye coordination and eye teaming in to context which is important as visual processing difficulties encompass much more than just ‘weak eye muscles.’ For example, good body awareness builds spatial awareness and the ability to point the eyes accurately.
Our regular eye examinations take 30 mins, an in-depth evaluation of all factors including binocular vision, visual perceptuals, colourimetry and peripheral awareness can take up to 2 hours.