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Reading & Vision

Having a good vision is important when it comes to being able to read well. There are about 8 vision skills that you need to read, with most of them being overlooked even in the typical eye chart tests. If you have trouble reading, these are the vision skills that an optometrist should cover during your examination.

Visual Acuity

This is the ability to clearly see objects that are located at a distance. Normal visual acuity is rated either as a  20/20 vision or 6/6 vision if using a metric system, a measure that allows you to comfortably view objects at a distance of 20 feet, which is about 6 meters.

This is measured in most Canadian schools during a vision screening. If there are any problems with your visual acuity, optometrists recommend that you get a full examination to determine the cause of the problem and possible remedies.

Visual Fixation

With visual fixation, you should have the ability to aim your eyes accurately at certain objects. There are two types of visual fixation; direct and pursuit.

Direct fixation establishes your eyes’ ability to focus on stationary objects, or read a fine line of print. Pursuit fixation on the other hand, focuses on your ability to follow a moving object with your eyes.

Accommodation

This is a vision skill that determines your ability to adjust the focus of your eyes as the distance between you and the object in question changes.

It’s a skill mostly tested in children while in class, on their ability to comfortably shift focus between the blackboards and their books.

Binocular Fusion

Your eyes have the ability to be precisely aligned. Binocular fusion tests out whether your brain has the capacity to collect information received from each eye separately, and form one uniform upright image.

Without this vision skill, you can easily experience a double vision, commonly known as diplopia. This causes your brain to suppress or limit vision in one eye, subconsciously, to avoid confusion. The affected eye then develops poor visual acuity (lazy eye) as a result.

Stereopsis

This is a function of the binocular fusion, which establishes how your eyes perceive depth or the relative distances of objects you are trying to see.

Convergence

Convergence is a vision skill that determines your ability to turn your eyes towards each other when observing a close object.

This is a skill commonly tested out in most Canadian schools, since any close work, such as students reading from their desks, requires convergence. Without it, you may experience difficulties when reading, and double vision may occur in the long run.

Field Of Vision

This covers any area over which vision is possible. Eye experts point out that it’s crucial that you are aware of objects on your periphery; these include objects on your right and left sides, up or down, and those located at the centre of your field of vision.

Perception

As a reader, you should be able to remember the shape of words, a vision skill that is defined as your reading skills develop. Perception is the process that involves your eyes’ ability to receive and recognize visual stimuli.

If diagnosed with vision problems during the eye chart tests, an optometrist may either prescribe contact lenses, glasses or vision therapy.  In most cases, they recommend both remedies.

With vision therapy, you get a customized training program, designed to enhance your vision skills and develop the eye muscles responsible for focusing, when viewing objects.

The Canadian system of education allows educators, optometrists and psychologists to work together in ensuring they meet each students’ vision needs, to enhance proper reading.