Most basic eye exams look at the Physical Integrity of the eyes. They focus on the eye health, eyesight and requirement of glasses.
The next level of testing is looking at Visual Efficiency. Can the individual fixate (look) at a target and maintain their visual attention on that target for a length of time? Can they follow a moving target from one spot to the next? Are those eye movements jerky or smooth? Can the eye movements cross the midline with ease? Does the individual require other assistance to determine how to follow the target? Can the individual point their eyes in a coordinated manner as they look close and as they look far away? Although they can do this, can they do this repeatedly? How quickly do they fatigue when they do these eye movements? (After all, in school they don't just do one eye movement from one distance to the next and then stop -- think copying notes from the board). Then we look at how is the individual's ability to transfer their focus from one location to another. So they can get 20/20 sight if you give them enough time with each eye individually... but can they transfer that clarity quickly and accurately and can they do this over a period of time? How quickly do they fatigue when required to do sustained near tasks? (Individuals can have 20/20 sight but fatigue within seconds or minutes of prolonged near tasks). Varying degrees of Visual Efficiency may be tested for in a basic eye exam. In many cases, minimal screening is performed in this area.
The next level of testing is Visual Information Processing. This testing is a series of tests that evaluate how the individual acquires information and knowledge from what they see. Many of these tests are age-related norms and comparisons so we know how the individual being tested performed compared to other individuals their age. This includes more in depth testing of eye tracking, eye hand coordination, visually guided writing tasks, visualization and visual memory, reversal awareness, reading decoding levels, the ability to compare similarities and differences between objects and more. This series of testing are not tested in any routine eye examinations. On some occasions, there are some individuals who can pass short screening tests; however, when they are required to perform cognitive tasks, they are no longer able to perform the simplest of visual tasks.
These are representations of what it might look like if you had a Learning-Related Vision Problem
That is one of the most common responses that Dr. Neufeld hears from parents during the parent consultation appointment where Dr. Neufeld explains where their child is on the visual developmental scale and how the areas of inefficiencies are creating roadblocks in their child's ability to take information in and learn.
If your child is having learning difficulties or difficulties learning to read, call Calgary Vision Therapy to book a Visual Information Processing evaluation. If your child has visual inefficiencies that can be creating more work for your child to perform visual tasks such as reading, Dr. Neufeld will take the time to discuss these difficulties and demonstrate how much effort one takes to perform tasks with poor eye tracking skills or poor focusing abilities.
Other Common Questions from Parents: