WHAT IS GOOD VISION?
Optometrists believe good vision consists of three components: clarity, comfort, and processing skills. Glasses or contacts only help with clarity. Even if you wear glasses, you might still get headaches and eyestrain, or become tired when reading, or have trouble understanding or remembering what you read. There are many more symptoms like this that could affect your performance at work or school and your enjoyment of life. See the boxes below to learn more about these hidden vision problems.
Having 20/20 vision is important; however, seeing clearly does not guarantee comfortable vision. There are many individuals who see very clearly yet find it difficult to read or concentrate for more than several minutes. School vision screenings only test if a child can see clearly, but many children who pass these exams have vision problems that prevent them from learning and performing as well as they can. Adults also suffer from these problems. Conditions such as eye teaming disorders cause discomfort associated with visual activities. Concussions are an additional cause of these vision problems in both kids and adults. If a person has difficulty controlling the coordination of the eyes, or can't maintain focus, or has difficulty scanning along a line of print, then reading becomes a chore and is associated with discomfort, fatigue, and hard work. But with healthy vision, these activities become easy and automatic.
It's important to see and read comfortably; but you also have to be able to make sense of what you're seeing. The ability to analyze and interpret what you see is sometimes referred to as visual processing. Optometrists believe this ability is a critical aspect of vision. We're particularly concerned about it in elementary school, since this is the age when the educational foundation is built. So we treat visual processing problems mostly in younger school-aged children. Many children who suffer from these problems can see perfectly clearly, but have trouble understanding the incoming information. Visual processing skills are important when a young child is learning letter and number recognition, reading, and early math skills. In some children, the development of visual processing skills does not keep pace with the child’s growth in other areas. This type of lag can lead to difficulty in the early grades in school.