The Three Component Model of Vision

The three component model of vision gives us a framework or hierarchy to help understand the all of the factors involved in a efficient use and integration of visual information.

Visual Integrity

Assessed and corrected by an eye doctor (either optometrist, ophthalmologist), visual integrity addresses visual acuity. This includes a dilated refraction (as appropriate) and prescription of glasses or contacts as needed.

Visual integrity also includes an assessment of the health of the eyes. Examination of the retina, the health of lens and other structures is included with treatment for isues found as appropriate.

Visual Efficiency

Visual efficiency addresses the movements of the eyes and dynamic near vision focusing. The accuracy of saccade and tracking and the ability of the eyes to maintain fusion and provide a three dimensional view of the world.

A more in-depth vision exam, provided by an optometrist or ophthalmologist that provides this level of assessment, is needed to identify errors of visual efficiency. Unfortunately, in many communities, these doctors may not accessible due to location or financial concerns. Many occupational and physical therapists learning the skills to provide an assessment of eye movements and near vision focusing, making this more accessible.

Visual Information Processing

Visual Information Processing addresses how the brain uses visual information to affect performance. including visual perception, visual processing of spatial information which affect posture and balance and much more. Vision therapy doctors and specially trained occupational therapists use standardized assessments and skilled observation to identify functional deficits that may be rooted in visual processing issues.

Have you had an eye exam?

As therapists , we use tools that assess functional performance. Tools that assess visual information processing, such as test of visual perception and visual motor integration, all assume and require age appropriate visual integrity and visual efficiency. Without healthy eyes in best corrected visual acuity, the results of these assessments can be skewed. Poor eye teaming and weak near vision focusing can also affect performance on these assessments.

Where to start?

Rules for the eye exam:

  • A financially and physically accessible eye exam that corrects acuity and ensures good eye health is a first priority. An eye exam is better than no eye exam!
  • Pediatricians do not do eye exams! Every child needs an eye exam every year.
  • Learn to assess visual efficiency! Start with a great vision course or vision book!

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