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What Is A Visual Processing Exam?

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Vision problems are often diagnosed at an early age, usually when kids begin formal education. An inability to see the chalkboard is a common complaint of kids with vision problems. However, some vision difficulties do not affect visual acuity but rather the ability of a child to process the information that they see.

Vision processing disorders are neurological eye disorders, and as such, they can be diagnosed by specialist eye doctors. A visual processing exam can confirm a suspected visual processing disorder. These are some things that are tested during this type of eye exam:

1. Memory

Memory relies on a person's ability to recall pertinent information. People with visual processing disorders may have issues with visual memory because they are unable to distinguish important visual information in the first place. Even if they are able to distinguish the correct information, they may struggle to retain it. People with visual processing disorders must typically see something many times before they're able to recall it. A visual processing exam will test a patient's working visual memory.

2. Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor control may seem like a solely physical skill, but a person's vision plays a large role in their ability to execute tasks that require fine control. People with visual processing disorders often have handwriting that is difficult to read because of their processing challenges. During a visual processing exam, a doctor will have the patient perform a series of tasks requiring fine motor control to gauge the patient's overall facility.

3. Visual Focus

Human eyes are able to focus on relevant visual information, which sometimes requires a person to move their eyes and change focus quickly. People with visual processing disorders may have difficulties changing the focus of their eyes. This can make it difficult for kids and adults with visual processing orders to read since they are unable to focus on the words on the page in the correct order.

4. Visual Deduction

A visual processing exam will test a patient's ability to distinguish relevant information from a picture or text. This type of test can reveal difficulties relating to the deduction of relevant and irrelevant information. Visual processing disorders can make it difficult for patients to find specific people in photographs or crowded areas, for instance. This aspect of a visual processing exam will strive to replicate that difficulty in a controlled environment where it can be diagnosed.