What is visual acuity?
Visual acuity refers to the clarity or sharpness of vision at both near and far distances. Visual acuity differs from visual perception; visual perception is a sensory and cognitive process that organizes perceived visual information, which interprets and uses what is seen. Visual acuity also differs from visual motor skills, also known as visual motor integration; visual motor skills are the skills that emerge from the integration of visual skills, visual perceptual skills and motor skills that allow us to use our eyes and hands in a coordinated and efficient way.
What are symptoms of decreased visual acuity?
Symptoms of decreased visual acuity include difficulty with:
- Distinguishing small visual details
- Discriminating contrast and color
- Reading or writing
- Recognizing familiar faces
- Seeing objects such as steps and walls
Symptoms also include decreased fine motor coordination, and decreased safety resulting from inability to see obstacles in path of travel.
What should I do if I suspect decreased visual acuity in my child?
If you observe your child having difficulty with the above tasks and activities, it is important to seek out an ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine if any corrective procedures or tools may be warranted (i.e. glasses). An occupational therapy evaluation may also be warranted to evaluate how your child’s decreased visual acuity is impacting his performance. Following the evaluation, the occupational therapist will create goals and set up a treatment plan to help develop the appropriate learning environments in which your child can best participate in all different kinds of activities, thus strengthening his confidence in his own abilities and fostering his sense of independence.
Our approach to decreased visual acuity at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our occupational therapists will address your child’s visual acuity as related to his performance with his fine and gross motor abilities, visual motor skills and participating in play both individually and with peers. Our occupational therapists may also suggest a visit to your child’s school to observe and collaborate with teachers to set up modifications around his school environment in order to allow him to be most successful and actively engage in the classroom setting.