There is a big difference between your routine, "yearly", eye exam and a functional/developmental visual exam.
A routine "yearly" eye exam looks at the health of the eyes and if there is a need for any glasses to clear up your distance eyesight. It does not assess the functional visual skills. The functional visual skills are the ones that permit you to perform in your life: they guide your movements and help you navigate your world, they help you understand what you read, they help you learn in school, etc.
When the functional visual skills are not properly assessed, or not assessed at all, a patient will often get a false sense of security that theirs or their child’s vision is fine and even “perfect.” Far too many times we have heard families say, “but we’ve already seen an eye doctor", or "their vision is fine they see 20/20", and yet the functional vision evaluation finds reveals many issues. Among our adult patients, we've heard on several occasions that they went to the ER only to be diagnosed with anxiety, or were told that the symptoms they were experiencing were just “all in their head”, yet there were diagnosable functional vision problems.
A Functional Vision Exam can make all the difference in finding you the right treatment and bringing you much needed relief.
When a child exhibits signs of reading and learning difficulties, or an adult is suffering from poor visual performance (which can show up as dizziness while driving or anxiety, among other symptoms), the first step should be a Functional Vision Exam.
After an in-depth case history we perform an extensive assessment of the visual skills. We evaluate eye tracking, eye teaming, eye focusing, and when indicated we will evaluate one's visual processing. As in a standard eye exam, this exam also looks at the eye health to make sure that everything is healthy (after all, something could have changed since the last visit to an optometrist) and looks at the need for any appropriate corrective lenses, when needed.
Only optometrists who have undergone advanced post-graduate training in the field of vision development, and who have the necessary equipment required to test for and treat functional vision problems, can perform this detailed assessment of visual function.
Dr Chelette performed an accredited post-graduate residency in vision therapy and rehabilitation, is a longstanding clinical associate with the Optometric Extension Program, and has his Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry. This level of specialization is why so many colleagues and other professionals refer their patients to us.
A measurement of convergence, ranges of fusion and coordination of the two eyes working together.
A measurement of pursuits and saccades (micro eye movement in reading and scanning the environment)
A measurement of eye focusing relating to the clarity of near vision, near visual attention, and looking near to far
A measurement of the eye’s ability to accurately judge depth cues when used together.
Your brain needs to accurately interpret, decode, and remember what your eyes see. The visual information processing skills are critical to evaluate when a child struggles in school. For example, visual memory is important for spelling, the understanding of directionality is important for letter orientation, visual discrimination and visualization are important for learning letters words and recognizing the same word on the next page.
This tests visual discrimination, visual memory, visual spatial relations, and visual form constancy subtests.
These basic processes are generally the first to develop and are important for so many skills in life.
This tests the ability to remember visually presented material of increasing complexity and length.
The task encourages chunking of visual information as its most successful intervention for remembering visual sequence. This ability is foundational for spelling and comprehension.
This tests visual figure ground and visual closure, which are higher levels of perceptual skills that build upon the basic processes and sequencing.
These skills are important for environmental organization and understanding the main idea when reading.
This tests visual-motor integration and fine-motor integration.
These skills are effectively testing handwriting; in order to have good handwriting, in order to have good spacing between letters, the eyes and the hands have to be coordinated. The eyes tell the hands where to go. Although primarily written tests, these relate to many things in life.
If you or your child are experiencing any symptoms that lead you to think that your struggles are visual in nature, it's important to take action and seek treatment as soon as possible. By addressing these issues early on, you can help prevent long-term vision problems.
Don't wait – contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the necessary steps towards improving your vision and your performance!