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Functional Vision Evaluation

What is a Functional Vision Evaluation?

A Functional Vision Evaluation is an in-depth assessment of an individual’s maximum level of visual functioning and its impact on their performance of everyday activities.

Who needs a Functional Vision Evaluation?

Anyone who would like to achieve optimal performance in schoolwork or sports will benefit from the exam. However, functional vision exams are most critical for those who:

  • Struggle in school and may have visual processing disorders
  • Have learning disabilities
  • Have developmental delays
  • Have neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, Down’s Syndrome, etc.)
  • Suffer health issues or physical injury affecting sight (TBIs, stroke victims, concussion sufferers, accident trauma, etc.)
  • Have physical issues affecting their visual processing (traumatic brain injury, stroke, etc.
  • Are experiencing visual stress, fatigue and headaches from computer use or other visual tasks.

Common Questions about the Evaluation

How does a Functional Vision Evaluation examines your sight?

A Functional Vision Evaluation goes beyond examination of the eye to evaluate visual processing along the visual system in the brain, where most vision occurs. It specifically looks at the level of function (ability and stamina) in areas such as focusing accuracy, eye tracking accuracy, eye muscle coordination, eye muscle range of motion, visual processing speed, visual cognitive abilities and visual integration with other senses.
Vision is a three-step process, that mainly takes place in the brain. When we see a dog, our eye captures the image, but it is the brain that tells us that image is a dog. The picture of the dog travels through our brain along the visual pathway and finishes at the visual cortex, which decodes the image and tells us what it is. A disturbance in any of these three areas – the eye, the visual pathway, or the visual cortex – can disrupt the way we see, process information and complete daily tasks. Sometimes, children are misdiagnosed with a cognitive learning disability when the problem really lies in their visual processing!

A Functional Vision Evaluation includes an evaluation of the optical (1), sensorimotor (2), and visual processing systems (3) to check for weaknesses in the eyes, visual pathway, and visual cortex. While corrective lenses can resolve problems detected in an optical exam, problems detected with the visual pathway or visual cortex are corrected with vision therapy, which retrains the brain in the proper processing of visual information.

How is a Functional Vision Evaluation used?

It is not considered part of a standard exam and is only recommended after a comprehensive eye exam has been completed and symptoms indicate a need for a more thorough examination. The Functional Vision Evaluation typically provides a baseline prior to starting a vision therapy program.

What happens after a Functional Vision Exam?

Patients who require vision therapy will be referred to AVC’s adjacent affiliate, the Vison Sensory and Integration Institute (VSII). VSII’s groundbreaking CogniViision™ protocol technology focuses on retraining the brain where vision takes place, not just the eye muscles. For more information on VSII see www.vsiionline.org

How do I know if I need to schedule a Functional Vision Exam?

We offer symptom surveys for adults and children to help you determine whether your visual symptoms may require a Functional Vision Evaluation. Contact Us to request a child or adult symptom survey.