According to the American Optometric Association:




These visual abilities are basic skills used to perform tasks such as reading and using a computer. About 40% of all Americans have functional vision deficits. Vision problems not only affect an individual’s ability to perform tasks, but it can have a negative affect on ones self-esteem.






75%-90% of classroom learning comes through our visual system

It is essential that our visual system is efficient because two-thirds of all information we receive is visual. The visual system is composed of the following visual abilities.

·        Distance and near acuity (20/20)

·        Accommodation (focusing)

·       Binocularity (two eyed vision)

·        Oculomotor skills (eye movement skills)

·        Peripheral vision

·        Visual-sensory integration

·        Visual perceptual skills

·        Visual Figure-ground

·        Visual Form constancy

·        Visual Spatial relations

·        Visual closure

·        Visual discrimination

·        Visual memory

·        Visual Sequential Memory

·        Visualization

When weak visual processing and perceptual skills are present, an individual’s ability to quickly and accurately comprehend reading material may be reduced. Once these skills have been improved through the treatment of vision therapy, reading and learning becomes easier. 

Distance and near acuity:  is to see clearly at a far distance such as 20 feet, and the ability to see clearly at a near distance such as 16 inches.

Accommodation: the eye’s ability to adjust focus on objects with various distances. 

Binocularity: the ability to use both eyes as a team. Proper eye alignment and coordination is necessary so that the eyes can unite two images into one (fusion), which allows an individual to perceive a single three dimensional image (depth perception, stereopsis).  

Oculomotor skills: the ability to quickly and accurately move our eyes. These skills allow us to move our eyes so we can direct and maintain a steady visual attention on an object (fixation), move our eyes smoothly from point to point as in reading (saccades), and efficiently track a moving object (pursuits).

Peripheral vision: the ability to see or be aware of what is surrounding us (our side vision).

Visual-sensory integration: after visual data is gathered, it is processed and combined in the brain with information from hearing (auditory-visual integration), balance (bilateral integration/gross-motor), posture, and movement (eye hand coordination, visual-motor integration).

Laterality or bilateral integration: The ability to distinguish left and right on ones self. Good bilateral integration skills allow children to use their visual systems to monitor and adjust placement of their body weight against the gravitational forces on both sides of their body’s “midline”, allowing for good balance and coordination.  Children with poor eye-body skills may have difficulty in such areas as sports, learning to ride a bicycle, or general “clumsiness.”

Directionality-visual spatial orientation: The ability to distinguish left and right in space. The most common cause of reversals in older children is a lack of visual spatial development.  Children with poor visual processing have not developed adequate skills in visual perception and spatial orientation.

Visual perceptual skills: the ability to organize and interpret information that is seen and give it meaning. These information-processing skills include figure-ground, form constancy, spatial relations, visual closure, visual discrimination, visual memory, visual sequential memory and visualization. 

Visual Figure-ground: the ability to recognize distinct shapes from their background, such as objects in a picture, or letters on a chalkboard. The ability to perceive and locate a shape within a busy field. Children struggling with this skill, get lost in details. It affects their concentration, attention and they tend to have difficulty scanning text to locate specific information. 

Visual Form Constancy: the ability to recognize two objects that have the same shape but different size or position and to mentally manipulate forms and visualize the out come.  Children that struggle with this skill may frequently reverse letters and numbers.  This ability is needed to tell the difference between “b” and “d”, “p” and “q”, “m” and “w”.

Visual Spatial Relations: the ability to distinguish differences among similar objects or forms. This is needed in reading and math.  Children that struggle with this skill have the challenge in problem-solving and conceptual skills required for higher level science and math.

Visual closure: the ability to identify or recognize a symbol or object when the entire object is not visible and to visualize a complete whole when given incomplete information.   Children struggling with this skill may have difficulty in not remembering or comprehending what has been read.  They might be unable to picture in the minds eye descriptions, directions or instructions.

Visual discrimination: the ability to discriminate between visible likeness and differences in size, shape, pattern, form, position, and color. Such as the ability to distinguish between similar words like “ran” and “run”. Children that struggle with this skill have a hard time distinguishing between similarly spelled words such as was/saw, then/when, etc.

Visual memory:  the ability to remember for immediate recall of a given object or form.  Children with poor visual memory may struggle with comprehension, remembering what words look like or fail to recognize on another page.  Take longer copying assignments because they must frequently review the text.

Visual Sequential Memory: the ability to remember shapes or characters in correct order.  Children struggling with this skill will have trouble with spelling. They tend to whisper or talk to themselves as they write.

Visualization: the ability to create or alter new images in the mind.  It is needed in reading and playing sports. 

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