Marshall Clinical Expert | January 4, 2024 | General

Healthy Vision - More Than Seeing 20/20

When most people think of healthy vision, they typically think of getting their eyes checked by their regular optometrist to make sure they can see clearly and that their eyes are free of disease.  While this is a very critical and important thing to do as a part of overall wellness, this isn’t where the road ends. There is SO much more to healthy vision than seeing 20/20. Getting an annual eye exam is not the end; it is just the beginning!

Our friends at the local Neuro-Visual Performance Institute help to emphasize the relationship that the eyes, brain, body, and mind all have with one another. We have worked closely with the NVPI team to provide our families with a helpful snapshot of some information regarding the visual system and overall eye wellness.

Kids (and adults) go through life working so much harder than they have to because the optometrist tells them they see 20/20, YET they still have trouble seeing …the words are still blurry, they get frequent headaches, and their eyes always feel fatigued. This is because their eyes are not working together as a team to gather information. The structure is there but the function is not.

70-90% of what we learn and perceive is actually processed through our visual system. It also takes from birth to age 15 for our visual skills to process.

visual system

Did you know that there are actually a total of 17 visual skills and generally ONE of those (Central Distant Acuity), is tested on most eye exams? NVPI actually tests all 17 skills to ensure proper results and diagnosis.

1. Central Visual Acuity: seeing clearly and accurately

2. Peripheral Vision: seeing objects at the sides when continuing to look straight ahead

3. Depth Perception: understanding whether seen objects are close to or far from each other

4. Color Perception: distinguishing between colors

5. Eye-Movement Control: each eye focuses on an object

6. Binocular Coordination: both eyes working together to achieve clear, comfortable vision

7. Saccades: the eyes’ ability to quickly move or “jump” between different focal points

8. Pursuits: both eyes’ smooth movements tracking a moving target

9. Convergence: both eyes working together, toward each other, to focus on a nearby object

10. Accommodation Flexibility: the eye continues to change its focus between near and distant objects

11. Accommodation Endurance: the eyes’ ability to maintain focus on close-up activity

12. Visual Memory: remembering just-seen images

13. Visual Thinking: an analysis of the information about an image (visual/spatial learning or picture thinking)

14. Gross Visual Motor Skills: employing visual information to direct the body’s movements in a coordinated way

15. Fine Visual Motor Skills: employing visual information to control the movement of hands, fingers, and feet

16. Visual Perception: understanding what is being seen and using cognition to process this information

17. Visual Integration: using vision together with other senses in order to perform complex tasks

The two videos below from Dr. Graebe at NVPI help to best explain what Vision Therapy is, as well as best explain the correlation between one’s vision and learning. It is very often that the school struggles your child might be experiencing, go hand-in-hand with vision-related concerns.

Vision Therapy

Vision & Learning