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Visual Information Processing

What is visual perception?

To put it simply, visual perception is how our brain processes and interprets the visual information being gathered by our eyes. Our eyes only gather light, our brain then determines what it is we are seeing.  Poor visual perceptual skills can greatly affect learning and can sometimes look like dyslexia or other learning disorders.

A picture of how visual perception is compared to a camera
Signs and Symptoms


The symptoms of learning related vision challenges are often overlooked or mislabeled. Following is a list of the more obvious symptoms parents and teachers should look for. If your child exhibits any of these,  you should consider our Visual Information Processing Evaluation.

· Frequent loss of place when reading

· Confuses similar looking words

· Poor reading comprehension

· Sloppy handwriting

· Poor recognition of the same word in next sentence

· Eye pain or headache after reading

· Eye rubbing

· Avoidance of close work

· Attention problems


The Visual Information Processing Evaluation involves a standardized battery of tests that assess visual perception. The results are scored at age or grade equivalents, which identify your child’s strengths or weaknesses in visual processing abilities. This is important for accurate diagnosis and effective therapeutic strategies.

The process:


1. The patient schedules a Binocular Vision Evaluation with the doctor. At this visit, an extensive health, developmental, academic and visual history is gathered. Visual skills like eye teaming, eye tracking and eye focusing are evaluated. 

2. Recommendations are made after the Binocular Vision Evaluation. These recommendations may include:

  • Advanced correction with glasses, prism or contact lenses

  • A Visual Information Processing (perceptual) evaluation​​

  • A separate parent consultation to review results

  • Vision Therapy

3. If a Visual Information Processing evaluation is recommended, you will be contacted by a vision therapist to schedule. 

  • Visual Information Processing evaluations are performed on Tuesday mornings. Mornings are important for our patients to ensure eyes are not fatigued. 

  • Visual Information Processing evaluations are not typically covered by insurance and have a fee due on the date of service of $360. 

  • Following the Visual Information Processing evaluation, a thorough report will be written and can be reviewed in a consultation. 

Test Descriptions

Ocular motility or eye movement skills are necessary for quick and accurate shifting of the eyes along lines of print in a book and quick and accurate shifts from far to near. Poor eye movements may account for:

· Loss of place when reading

· Misreading or skipping lines or words

· Difficulty copying from the chalkboard

· Following printed words with one’s finger

· Poor performance in movement activities

The Developmental Eye Movement Test (DEM) assesses tracking ability. These skills are usually evaluated in the comprehensive vision exam. However, during the developmental evaluation we take into consideration timing and comprehension, which can affect performance.


Many children with reading difficulties, or with learning disorders, also demonstrate an inability to differentiate between left and right, either on themselves or in the mirror position. This inability is also common in children who demonstrate arithmetic difficulties and letter reversals.

The Piaget Left/Right Awareness Test evaluates the understanding of laterality and directionality concepts. The Jordan  Left/Right Reversal Test determines if the child exhibits an abnormal number of letter and number reversals relative to their age.


The Beery-Buktenica Test of Visual Motor Integration evaluates the accuracy and speed of the communication between the eyes and the hands. The Wold Sentence Copy Test measures the ability to copy in letters per minute. Both of these are tests of skills directly transferrable to the classroom.


The Test of Visual Perceptual Skills, Volume III (TVPS), evaluates the following visual skills:

Discrimination: the ability to visually discriminate similarities and differences.

Visual Memory: The ability to remember a given form after a short viewing.

Spatial Relationships: The ability to see differences among forms when all or a part of a form has a different orientation.

Form Constancy: The ability to see the fundamental elements of a form, and identify them within other forms that may be smaller, larger, rotated, reversed or hidden within other designs.

Visual Sequential Memory: The ability to remember, for immediate recall, a series of forms in their specific order of presentation.

Figure Ground: The ability to see a form and to locate it within other forms.


The Birch-Belmont Auditory Visual Integration Test evaluates the ability to match sounds with pictures. This is a useful tool in testing for reading readiness, especially in grades 1 and 2.

The Rosner Test of Auditory Analysis Skills evaluates the ability to identify the separate sounds in a spoken word and the temporal sequence of those sounds. These are basic underlying skills for reading (decoding) and spelling.


Primitive reflexes are the first building blocks of movement and help establish the pathways for responses that develop into fine motor control. When we are unable to control these reflexes (retained) they interfere with development. When one has control over primitive reflexes (integration) they provide a strong foundation for specialized voluntary movement patterns, such as:

· Efficient eye movement control

· Focusing and eye training

· Bilateral integration

· Eye-hand coordination

· Visual-motor integration

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