Vision Acuity Is Not the Only Reason Why Your Eye Can Learn

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Many children who struggle with reading and learning may also have poor visual processing skills despite having ordinary vision understanding, leading to problems such as word omissions, eye fatigue, and reversals.

Tracking a moving target is an excellent way to practice pursuit eye movements and enhance left/proper eye coordination.

Convergence Insufficiency

If a person’s eyes can’t comfortably focus on close-up objects, they have convergence insufficiency – a condition related to brain functioning that interferes with merging visual information from both eyes. While other eye diseases like nearsightedness or farsightedness involve cornea or lens structures, convergence insufficiency involves how successfully both brains combine visual data from both eyes.

People with Convergence Illness often encounter difficulty reading, doing homework, or working on computers. Additionally, they may struggle with depth perception, causing words or objects to appear blurry, doubled up, or with a halo around them. Since CI primarily affects near vision, it may go undetected during standard eye exams and screenings; for children who perform reading and desk work specifically, it’s vitally important that a comprehensive binocular vision evaluation and in-office optometric vision therapy be conducted immediately to detect it early enough.

Research indicates that people with chronic eye strain are at an increased risk for learning and attention issues because maintaining focus when reading and performing schoolwork often requires maintaining eye focus without them moving, blurring, or becoming double. Therefore, this condition must be diagnosed and treated promptly before it worsens further, as undiagnosed or left untreated, it can lead to suppression of dominant eyes (amblyopia or strabismus) and other serious consequences; treatments include eyeglasses, prism lenses, or in-office optometric vision therapy sessions.

Eye Teaming

Healthy normal vision requires the eyes to work in sync to combine visual images from each eye into one clear idea, known as eye teaming or binocular vision. This foundational skill ensures comfortable near vision (reading, drawing, sports, etc) and superior depth perception.

Eye teaming issues can manifest themselves in various forms: blurred or double printed text when reading close-up tasks such as reading books, eyestrain, headaches, difficulty shifting focus from far to near and poor handwriting, as well as motion sickness, are just a few symptoms to look out for if there’s an issue – which often go undetected and lead to misdiagnosis of learning difficulties, attention problems or ADHD symptoms.

Children with eye teaming issues experience difficulties when their visual system cannot quickly and accurately combine information from each eye into a coherent image. Convergence insufficiency and excess are two common eye teaming conditions. Convergence insufficiency occurs when children’s eyes have an overwhelming tendency to turn out during reading and other near work, while convergence excess occurs when eyes exhibit strong tendencies for over-convergence. Eye teaming issues often go undetected, leading to misdiagnosis of learning difficulties, attention issues, ADD/ADHD, or similar conditions. Almost always, when this occurs, special in-office and home therapy treatments aimed at increasing visual processing skill efficiency are required to help ease symptoms associated with these teaming disorders.

Visual Tracking

Eye tracking refers to the ability of both of your eyes to work in tandem in tracking moving objects or precisely reading text lines, often developing early in childhood and continuing throughout life, helping children read well and comprehend what they are reading. Unfortunately, many children with poor tracking don’t receive support in this area, and their learning may suffer.

Tracking problems include losing one’s place while reading, misplacing words or switching back and forth between lines during return sweeps, and experiencing jumpy vision (commonly called “hunt and peck” behavior). Unfortunately, standard optometric exams do not screen for eye movement disorders like tracking deficits.

So far, most research on teachers’ visual perception has occurred in laboratory settings. To buck this trend, this Special Issue utilizes mobile eye-tracking technology to capture teachers’ visual perception as they teach in authentic classroom settings. With this innovative approach, we gain our first glimpse at teachers’ eye movements while interacting with their pupils in an original classroom and can assess whether these movements match teacher practice. To achieve this feat, we used mobile eye-tracking glasses paired with a computer program that codes classroom videos for gaze interaction.

Visual Perception

Visual perception refers to how your eyes and other senses (movement, hearing, touch, and smell) send data about the world into your brain. It differs from vision acuity, which refers to how well you see; poor perceptual skills may exist even among individuals with 20/20 vision.

Imagine seeing a black shape in the distance that is only partially identifiable as you move closer, only for it to gradually form into something that resembles an animal, and eventually, you recognize it as a skunk, prompting you to lower your car window – this is an example of visual perception event.

Visual perception occurs whenever we recognize someone or understand their relationships in space. Furthermore, visual perception allows the brain to coordinate eye movements quickly in reading a sentence by rapidly moving its eyes across each new word sequence.

Researchers generally agree that visual perception involves three stages, which they refer to as encoding, selection, and decoding. Encoding refers to sampling and representing optical inputs, such as neural activity in the retina. Selection (attentional selection) occurs when the brain chooses only some of these input signals for further processing, and decoding involves deciphering these selected input signals, such as recognizing someone’s face or understanding how objects relate in space.