Upwards of 80% of information processed by the brain is visual and about 67% of the brain’s electrical activity is allotted to vision. These statistics confirm the importance of healthy eyes, good vision, and sufficient visual acuity. Although commonly used as synonyms, “sight/acuity” and “vision” are two separate skills. Sight is the measure of the ability of one or both eyes to see and resolve details. It is
measured on the acuity chart and is commonly thought of as “20/20”.
Vision, on the other hand, is a skill that is progressively learned and refined through repeated and consistent interaction with our environment. Visual skills like focusing, tracking, 3D vision, and coordinated movements are foundational skills that we build upon for information identification, interpretation, and understanding. This process of interpreting visual information takes place in the brain and is called visual perception or vision. Young children learn the skills of vision and sight through environmental interactions. Immediately upon birth, infants are bombarded with constant visual stimulation.
This visual information and interpretation allows for motor development like learning to reach and grab objects, sit up, turn over, crawl, and walk. To prevent developmental delays, early detection and intervention of eye and vision problems ensure that children have the opportunity to meet their highest potential in life. Parents are instrumental in a child’s eye and vision developmental care and can advocate for their child when eye concerns are seen at home or school.
Even if there are no apparent eye or vision problems, an optometrist can assess the need for spectacles for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. A timely spectacle prescription can prevent a lazy eye or permanent visual acuity loss. Additionally, eye movement, eye alignment, and anatomical health are assessed. Considering the importance of efficient visual function our modern world, a proactive approach is necessary to care for a child’s visual development. Ideally, a child’s first three exams with an optometrist should be at ages 1 year, 2.5 years, and before starting school. Through a coordinated effort with parents, schools, and pediatricians, optometrists can help identify and treat eye and vision problems early in a child’s life to prevent developmental delays.
Vision Health Specialties is equipped with five optometrists to comprehensively examine your child’s eyes. Dr. Cara Sczepanski is the newest doctor on staff and residency trained in Pediatric Optometry and Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation.
Originally published in Midland Lifestyles, January 2021 in https://www.midlandlivingmagazine.com/categories/in-print