Vision is a very unique sense which involves many intricate skills that go through a developmental process. As opposed to the senses of taste and hearing which you either have or you don’t, vision consists of many different aspects which can be developed over time. Another difference is that other developmental processes are much more noticeable. For example, a parent will usually notice if a child is having difficulty crawling or walking. On the other hand, if a child is having challenges with certain visual skills, it could be very difficult for a parent to notice until the child starts complaining. Often these visual challenges will only manifest when a child starts grade school and the demand for applying various complex visual skills becomes essential. At that point, the child may start suddenly complaining about certain symptoms that come along with delays in visual development. Until that point, the parents and often the child himself would not be aware of these challenges, but there are more than eighteen necessary visual skills that are essential for a classroom setting and a child may need to still work on developing some of these abilities.
In order to understand the development process of vision, it is crucial to understand vision itself. Vision could be thought of as containing a hardware and a software department. The hardware would involve for example, a person who is near-sighted and is prescribed glasses to help her see 20/20 on the eye chart. However, there is a whole other area associated with vision which is less known that includes intricate visual abilities that are represented by the concept of software. It is fascinating to consider that every aspect of our brain involves the visual pathway which means that everything that we do incorporates vision as the dominant sense. There’s a whole skillset incorporated with vision which can be developed with vision therapy to ensure the full picture of optimal eyesight.
The brain has the incredible ability to develop, adapt and learn new things over time. This may seem obvious when it comes to learning new skills, but it’s not necessarily considered when describing vision, even though it most definitely is applicable. This is where thinking of vision as involving software comes into effect. There could be miscommunication between the visual pathways, the eyes and the brain. These pathways and processes could be developed over time using vision therapy to strengthen the “software” aspect of vision.
There’s a misconception that neuroplasticity ends at eight years old which would mean that the brain can only be trained to develop properly until that age and afterwards, it’s too late for the visual system to develop further. This is incorrect because we know that the brain is able to learn new skills and adapt to new challenges past age eight and that applies to the visual pathway as well. Vision therapy can help the brain develop much past age eight in wondrous ways. It enables strengthening of the various skills associated with vision, which means strengthening all aspects that are required to meet visual demands which are essential in our day to day life.
Vision involves so much more than what meets the eye. It is a very complex sense that involves a vast skill set which goes through a developmental process. Due to the phenomenon of neuroplasticity, the neurological pathways associated with vision can constantly be developed and strengthened.