Vision & Learning
Eye Tracking as a general term, refers to the way the eyes move around the visual world to access and take in information. Problems here cause place-keeping difficulties as we read, and may affect spatial localisation as well as making us less aware of our surroundings.
There are four components of the visual system that tend to cause the majority of tracking problems in reading, which can cause significant learning issues with people of any age:
1. Eye movement problems. There are six external muscles around each eye which control eye movements. Only a perfectly developed and coordinated control system can deliver the vast range and combination of eye movement types needed to navigate the constantly shifting demands of work, school, rest or play.
2. Eye focusing problems. The internal muscles of your eye help control your ability to focus, or see things clearly. Focusing problems cause intermittent blurry vision and/or difficulty sustaining attention either of which make it more difficult for a person to keep their place on the page. This is also one of the culprits for accurately copying notes from the board or slides.
3. Eye teaming problems. The right and left eye muscles must work in a coordinated fashion for your eyes to work together and follow a line of text across the page.
If you’re having difficulty with eye teaming, you may experience intermittent double vision or blurry vision. Sometimes the words look like they are moving on the page. Sometimes the person is able to keep things single, but with a great deal of effort. Many people with eye teaming problems tend to skip lines or misread sections. Note that people with constant strabismus (one eye always turned and the most obvious type of eye teaming problem) may not have any difficulty keeping their place as they are using only one eye to read.
4. Functional peripheral vision. A peripheral vision problem in this case is not the same as a visual field loss, where parts of the eye or brain are damaged. It’s more functional – can a person see both ends of the line when they’re reading at the same time? The ability to do so is critical for accurate eye movements from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Some people have functional peripheral visual fields that are so small that they cannot process a whole word at once or a few words at a time. This makes it extremely difficult to move accurately from word to word, or group of words to group of words, across the line for fluent reading.
Any or all of these parts of the visual system may be performing poorly and cause tracking problems. They are also inter-dependent, and an issue in one area could affect another.
Undergoing a Full Visual Assessment will reveal if signs of visual skills deficiency are present.