How the Brain “Sees”
Visual information follows two independent pathways in the brain, known as the focal and ambient paths. The focal path enables us to identify ‘what’ objects are. The ambient pathway (also referred to as peripheral vision), tells us 'where' we are in space and 'where' other objects are in relation to ourselves, or one another. It is the ambient system that directs and guides our actions-- from climbing stairs to reading words on a page. Though these systems are independent, we also need them to compliment one another. When they do, the result is normal visual processing and normal behaviors. When they don’t, people can experience anything from minor learning problems to full blow panic attacks and emotional breakdowns.
Most people don’t associate attention, learning, slow processing speed or difficult behaviors and emotions with vision. They should, however, because the brain is responsible for the way we collect, organize and interpret the material we are presented with by means of the eyes. If visual disturbances go undetected or untreated, a range of difficulties can develop. These difficulties can range from developmental delays to sometimes more serious learning disabilities, emotional problems and spectrum disorders.
Too frequently, traditional eye exams will only address the central process of seeing, which is determined by sharp/clear visual acuity, otherwise known as nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic eyesight. Visual processing, however, including the complex functions involved in attention, eye movements, depth perception and sensory integration of vision involves much more than being able to see 20/20.
Therefore, in addition to examining the sharpness of you or your child’s vision, a detailed perceptual analysis will provide us with more information related to you or your childs needs, development and behaviors. This analysis includes attention and performance based measurements for examining both our verbal and nonverbal patients.
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VISION GOES BEYOND 20/20 SIGHT
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Eliciting Change in Visual Perceptual Processing
Conventional lenses, those which are necessary for patients who are near or far sighted to see clearly, address the hardware of the eye and enables the focal pathways. Though necessary, these lenses rarely change the patients’ actions. Our center frequently utilizes yoked prism lenses, which transforms the light entering the eyes, enhancing peripheral vision and encouraging the eyes to move together in a uniform manner.
As a result, prisms cause a remapping of a person’s visual surroundings that improves the ambient pathways, including spatial-organization (attention, eye movements, depth perception and visual fields, included) and spatial-orientation (affecting posture, balance and transport).