Vision Development

It is helpful to know how one acquires vision in the first place to understand how vision can be enhanced by Behavioural Optometric care

Except in rare cases, most babies are born with the necessary hardware to allow the development of normal vision. They are born with a brain and nerves, eyes, head, neck, torso, arms and legs etc. They are also born with certain basic vision reflexes e.g. the startle reflex, the pupillary reflex, etc.

The experiences that children have over the first few years of life set the stage for their educational and adult lives. Vision is learned and developed through these experiences. As children learn they develop mental software to enable them to use the latent potential of their hardware.

If we consider a normal, healthy 6 year old child about to learn to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. The child has normal hardware (arms, legs, body, muscles, tendons etc.) but, as yet, has no experience – and therefore no software – to ride the bicycle. As he begins to ride for the first time he falls off. We know there is nothing wrong with his arms and legs he just needs to practice. It is this practice which is actually writing the software to ride the bike successfully. The change that takes place is in the software in the brain.

Vision is normally acquired through life experiences. To develop a well-functioning visual process capable of meeting all the demands of life the individual needs to have encountered many development opportunities throughout early life. In practice, no-one has developed the ultimate visual process; however many have developed exceptional visual abilities beyond the normal range. Elite athletes are an excellent example. The difference between the average athlete and the elite athlete most often is in the difference in their visual abilities. Their excellent visual processing derives meaning from the environment rapidly and efficiently so their performance is increased well beyond the abilities of those around them.

 British Association of Behavioural Optometrists

Tel: 07443 569021

BABO, Goyt Cliff, 63 Strines Road, Marple, Stockport, SK6 7DT

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