While you care about your child’s or students’ vision, you may not realize the role of hand-eye coordination. Problems with this visual ability may go undetected until the first years of school, resulting in problems in visual development during a child’s earliest years. When school-aged, a child will experience academic fundamentals, like reading and writing.
However, it doesn’t end there, as troubles with learning and movement can make it harder for a child socially and emotionally. Unfortunately, parents and teachers may see behavior issues arising in students that have poorer hand-eye coordination who may then be struggling to keep up with peers in the classroom and on the playground.
But, children can get the support they need to develop essential visual skills and abilities. It is possible to strengthen areas like hand-eye coordination with a vision therapy program. Understand more about hand-eye coordination, its impact on a child’s development, and how a child with poor hand-eye coordination can benefit from vision therapy.
What Is Hand-Eye Coordination?
Hand-eye coordination requires a person to perform activities that require the use of hands and eyes simultaneously. In many cases, information received through our visual perception informs the body on how to move. In other words, the information received by the eyes helps the hands execute specific tasks.
Hand-eye coordination is considered a complex cognitive ability and is seen as important to the development of a child, and their future academic success. This ability helps infants and young children explore and learn about the world around them and accurately process visual information. As a child grows, many daily activities outside of the classroom can also be impacted by this cognitive ability.
There can be multiple factors influencing hand-eye coordination. Some may not be directly related to a person’s quality of vision, such as a motor skill issue. However, when it does come to vision issues, eye conditions that may lead to poorer hand-eye coordination include balance issues, muscle hypotonia, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (crossed eyes).
For some people, a problem may only become obvious when asked to perform an activity that requires the eyes and hands to work together.
Why Is Hand-Eye Coordination Important in Daily Activities?
Hand-eye coordination is required to make minute course corrections when completing many physical tasks, such as writing, throwing a ball, and playing with toys. For a child, issues that can develop due to poor hand-eye coordination include learning disorders, developmental disorders, issues taking notes, problems putting objects together, and participating in sports.
Children may also find it hard to eat and perform other typical daily activities. Addressing these issues early on can help a child reach developmental milestones, do well in individual and group activities, and positively influence their self-esteem.
There is a great deal of development that occurs during a child’s first years. The visual system is a critical area for a child, as it supports how they function and respond to stimuli throughout their life.
Toddlers can begin to benefit from vision therapy, although the majority of children starting vision therapy are around 5 years of age. It can be hard to detect a visual processing issue as some children who can use visual therapy have no refractive errors and possess 20/20 vision.
A child that can benefit from this therapy may still be able to pass a school screening or conventional vision exam. Vision therapy has been successful in addressing issues like convergence insufficiency, strabismus, lazy eye, learning difficulties, ADHD, and dyslexia.
How Can Hand-Eye Coordination Be Improved
When might hand-eye coordination problems first be noticed? A child may not be able to color within the lines, have poor handwriting, or place more emphasis on their hands to inspect and explore toys and objects.
Movement disorders or vision problems can lead to an issue with this cognitive ability. However, hand-eye coordination may not be the only area needing attention. Other visual skills like visual processing, convergence, eye focusing, and eye teaming and tracking may also affect a child’s ability to see and interpret incoming information.
When it comes to vision impairment, there are ways to address specific eye conditions and develop visual skills. A vision therapist is a person with the specialized knowledge to address eye disorders and support visual ability and skill development. Work in this area can change how a child interprets or processes visual information.
A visual therapist can help develop important skills with a combination of in-office and home-based reinforcement exercises. Other tools used can include “training glasses” or lenses, filters, prisms, electronic targets, and balance boards. Vision therapy categories include orthoptic vision therapy, behavioral/perceptual vision therapy, and vision therapy to correct or prevent myopia.
Vision therapy is like physical therapy, but for the eyes, the primary goal is for the communication pathway between the eyes and brain to grow stronger. A highly personalized vision therapy program is created to meet the specific needs and visual skill levels of a child.
Vision therapy may not be the only way to support a child’s ability to see clearly, process visual information, and act accordingly. Children with refractive errors may still need contact lenses or prescription glasses. On the other hand, some children who wear such glasses may not require them later on due to vision therapy.
Your Eyes, Your Future
Vision quality can change over time and many conditions may go undiagnosed or untreated. This can have an impact on important areas of life and limit future prospects. An experienced vision therapist can work with individuals, improving communications inside the body, and giving them tools to address specific concerns.
Avoid allowing a lack of hand-eye coordination to go untreated. With today’s vision therapists and other interventions, many children can see and perform better inside and outside of the classroom. Speak to a trusted eye doctor to understand more about hand-eye coordination and other visual skills that can be improved by vision therapy.