There is more to good vision than 20/20
Seeing 20/20 is not good enough. Many people equate good vision with seeing well. The College of Optometrists in Visual Development (COVD) has performed numerous studies to indicate 17 visual skills that are needed for reading, learning, sports and….life! It has become an assumption that seeing 20/20 is the only visual goal that needs to be reached. Seeing 20/20 is very important; however, visual acuity is only one of the 17 visual skills.
17 Essential Visual Skills
- Eye movement control – conscious ability to move both eyes in a certain direction
- Simultaneous focus at distance – both eyes able to focus, simultaneously, on an object/area in the distance
- Sustaining focus at distance – both eyes maintaining the focus of an object/area in the distance
- Simultaneous focus at near – both eyes being able to focus at the same time at an object/area at near
- Sustaining focus at near – both eyes maintaining the focus of an object/area at near
- Simultaneous eye alignment at distance – both eyes simultaneously directed at an object in the distance
- Sustaining eye alignment at distance – the ability to keep both eyes looking at the same object in the distance
- Simultaneous eye alignment at near – both eyes looking at the same object at near.
- Sustaining eye alignment at near – ability to keep both eyes looking at the same object at near
- Central visual acuity – a measure of how small of an object a person can see at a given distance
- Peripheral vision – area visible to the eyes outside of central vision
- Depth awareness – the ability to judge distances or depth, ability to perceive distances between objects in three dimensions
- Color perception – ability to perceive and distinguish different colors, most notably red, green, yellow, blue
- Gross visual- motor skills (eye/hand coordination) – one’s ability to control large muscles of the body for activities such as pointing at an object, catching or throwing a ball, stepping over an obstacle etc.
- Fine visual-motor skills (eye/hand coordination) – one’s ability to control small muscles of the body such as hands and fingers while writing or drawing etc.
- Visual Perception – ability to interpret information derived from the eyes relative to a person’s surroundings
- Visual integration – ability to integrate information from the eyes with the other senses, also the tying together of multiple visual skills
A comprehensive eye exam is the first step in assessing your visual and ocular health, both of which are essential to good vision. A visual skills examination takes an eye exam a step further focusing only the visual system to determine which, if any, of those 17 areas need to be addressed and is the basis for the development of a customized vision therapy treatment plan.