The quality and efficiency of vision and visual skills can have a tremendous impact on how well any of us function in our environment. That is why a comprehensive eye exam is a critical component in the overall evaluation of any child's readiness to learn. Unlike vision screenings, which are often very limited in scope and frequently unreliable, a complete vision exam will assess all aspects of basic visual functions. This will include the health of the eyes as well as visual acuity or clarity of vision at distance and at near, refraction to determine if compensatory lenses may be helpful, and a careful assessment of focusing accuracy and efficiency, alignment precision, and eye movement skills.
It is possible for a child to have no difficulties identified in this complete exam
and still be struggling with visual information in school. Even if the visual "hardware"
is intact and functioning, the brain may not be making the best use of the information
it is receiving. The visual processing "software" in the brain may not be efficiently
dealing with the data it is being given. Sometimes, 20/20 vision is not enough.
Children with such visual information processing delays or problems exhibit a significant number of symptoms or difficulties in trying to learn. A partial list of these includes:
With this kind of evidence of visual perceptual problems, further perceptual testing is usually indicated to go beyond the initial exam. Because of the importance of knowing the level of basic visual skills, the information processing assessment will not be conducted without results from a recent comprehensive vision exam.
The goals of the additional assessment is to identify strengths and weaknesses in
processing, and then recommend a strategy for helping the child develop weak skills
more fully. Vision therapy, as well as assistance from other professionals, may be
The Visual Information Processing Assessment
The comprehensive evaluation of visual information processing requires time and cooperation.
These exams are typically scheduled for two hours after the completion of a complete
eye exam. Sometimes additional testing at another visit is required to complete the
total evaluation. It consists of pencil and paper and other visually involved tasks
administered one-on-one in a quiet setting.
Once the exam is completed, an appointment is made for a detailed consultation with the parents and/or any other interested and involved party. At this time a written report, summarizing all findings, impressions, and recommendations, is provided. This report can be shared with anyone involved in the child's or individual's care or education. The consultation time and the written report are included in the global fee.
The fee for these services is approximately $350 depending on the case complexity. It is usually not covered by health insurance or vision plans.
While signs of other problems such as dyslexia or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be evident during this assessment, these diagnoses are not directly made, but appropriate referrals for further evaluation will be made.
The goal of the visual information processing assessments conducted in the Pediatric and Binocular Vision Service of the University Eye Center is to help identify a child's pattern of strengths and weaknesses to help improve visual difficulties that may be hindering academic performance.
If your child is struggling with schoolwork, and you feel that there is a potential within them that they have not yet tapped, then maybe there is a visual processing delay that is holding them back.