Visual Perception

Visual Perception is more than just looking an eye chart at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Visual perception refers to the way in which the brain interprets and processes visual information. Visual perception is not tested using an eye chart - the ability to read the 20/20 row does not mean a person is free of visual perception deficits. Visual perceptual deficits can affect academic performance in areas such as reading and math as well as sports performance and other day to day activities.  


Help you child be more successful in school at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Commonly individuals with visual perceptual deficits are encouraged to “try harder” or to “work harder”. Unfortunately, individuals do not outgrow visual perceptual deficits and cannot overcome them by simply working harder. Visual perception, or visual processing disorder, refers to deficits in the ability to make sense of information that is taken in through the eyes. Deficits with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted or processed by the brain. So much information in the classroom, and at home, is delivered visually. A child with visual perception or visual processing deficits is at a disadvantage.


Visual perceptual skills involve the ability to organize and interpret the information that is seen and give it meaning. For instance, when a reader concentrates on a written message, the next step is that the message must be perceived. In other words, perception must take place. Visual perceptual and visual information processing skills include:

  • Form discrimination: the ability to identify similarities and differences in size, shape, pattern, form, position and color – to notice detail differences.

  • Spatial relations: the ability to judge the relative position of one object to another and the internal awareness of the two sides of the body (where is my body in relation to space, others and objects) and the orientation of objects.

  • Object recognition (Visual Agnosia): this can interfere with the ability to consistently recognize letters, numbers, symbols, words or pictures.

  • Figure ground: the ability to locate a figure or distinct shape against a busy background (such as crowded numbers or words on a page).

  • Visual closure: the ability to identify or recognize a symbol or object without seeing all of the object or details (the ability to know a word without needing to look at each individual letter every time the word reappears).

  • Form constancy: the ability to recognize numbers, letters and shapes when they are made larger, smaller or turned a different direction.

  • Visual memory: the ability to remember forms (letters) and sequences of forms (words) and recognize them quickly when you see them again in print.

  • Whole / part relationships: the ability to perceive the relationship between the pieces that make up the whole.


When visual information is perceived or processed incorrectly, it cannot be “matched” or integrated with our other senses. Instead of reinforcing our learning experiences, it distracts and interferes. For instance, the ability to read music is an excellent example of visual auditory integration. While learning to dance by watching the instructor is a good example of visual motor integration.


Individuals with visual perception or visual processing problems may:

  • Confuse similar looking words

  • Reverse letters or numbers

  • Have poor reading comprehension

  • Make errors copying

  • Easily forget letters, numbers or words

  • Be a poor speller

  • Have handwriting that is crooked or poorly spaced

  • Have difficulty following multi-stepped directions

  • Have difficulty telling time or understanding the concept of time


Unfortunately individuals with visual processing disorders are often “diagnosed” as having dyslexia. Providers who are not professionally trained and licensed to diagnose dyslexia can easily misidentify visual perceptual deficits as dyslexia. This misidentification can have devastating, life-long repercussions.


Eye doctors who have completed residency training in binocular vision and vision therapy can test visual perceptual skills. If testing reveals deficits in this area, a treatment program can be prescribed. Deficits in visual perception cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, and most eye doctors do not test visual perceptual skills.


Individuals with visual perceptual deficits frequently pass screenings at school or the pediatrician’s office, and their eyes are found to be “normal” during a routine eye examination with an eye doctor. These individuals suffer from an undiagnosed vision problem.


During an eye examination, if learning and school or work performance are not stressed and you have concerns, do not hesitate to ask questions. If your eye doctor reports that either nothing is wrong, or that nothing further can be done, and yet the problems persist, do not hesitate to get a second opinion from a residency trained binocular vision specialist.


Remember, visual perceptual and visual processing deficits can be treated. The first step is having an in-depth visual perceptual and visual processing evaluation with an optometrist who is residency trained in the area of binocular vision. In summary, individuals do not outgrow visual perceptual or visual processing deficits. Intervention is required.


Schedule your appointment with our residency trained binocular vision specialist at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho

Posted by Advanced Vision Therapy Center at 7/6/2016 9:19:00 PM
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