BINOCULAR VISION – WHAT IS IT?
Our eyes are designed to function as a pair. This unique set up allows us to perceive the world around us with a sense of depth. The degree to which we are able to distinguish this effect is called Stereopsis. It is a vital part of our perceptual abilities and directly affects our larger movements in 3D space.
There are a number of muscle problems which have an impact on our ability to see comfortably, clearly and with a high degree of stereopsis.
Some common symptoms of these include (but are not limited to!) headaches, double vision, temporary blurry vision, text moving, a general discomfort when reading; in some people the problem can actually express itself as poor concentration.
Needless to say, it is very important that a child be given the best opportunity to use their vision as efficiently and effectively as possible. Having an optimally functioning binocular vision system, an essential part of visual perception, is as important as seeing clearly, in this regard.
In addition, there is emerging research that links certain combinations of binocular vision problems with the development and progression of myopia.
HOW ARE THESE DETECTED?
The private eye examination at DF Optometrists includes a number of binocular vision screening tests. If there is a suspected anomaly then this needs to be looked into further during a more specialist, binocular assessment.
During the binocular assessment the exact nature of the binocular vision anomaly is established. This is done through a multitude of binocular co-ordination investigations designed to highlight any problems not only in one system but in the relationships between the various muscular systems.
There is a secondary assessment designed to investigate Visual Stress called a Visual Assessment, which is performed only when all binocular vision anomalies and refractive errors have been corrected.
CAN THEY BE TREATED?
Once the exact nature of the problem has been ascertained then it can either be treated using orthoptics (evidence based eye exercises), or if necessary, onward referral to an Ophthalmologist (Eye Surgeon).
Very often the binocular vision anomaly is combined with an orthoptic assessment and a treatment plan is drawn up. This provides two unique advantages. Firstly, it allows us to double check the presence of the anomaly and determine its exact nature. Secondly, the treatment needed can then be individually tailored to each and every patient, thereby ensuring the most effective and efficient course of action.
Whilst orthoptic exercises are most the most common management for a binocular vision anomaly, adjustment of the spectacle prescription, examination into the use of coloured lenses or onward referral to an Ophthalmologist for squint surgery are all possible outcomes too.