Sensory Integration and Vision

We often see patients with vision problems who also have sensory integration issues (Sensory Integration or Sensory Processing Disorder). Why are these two things often correlated?

First, let’s back up and talk about vision development. Infants who are 6 months old and healthy have the ability to see 20/20 vision (clear vision) just like adults, but the big difference is they don’t know how to process, organize and interpret what they are seeing. Vision is Learned! This learning happens through interaction with our environment, integrating the senses together, and creating new connections that drive cognition and development.

When sensory integration issues are present, the brain has a difficult time processing information coming in through the senses. This includes sound, touch, and of course, vision! Think about how much of the time we are processing visual information, and how much of our cognition depends on it. Over 80% of a child’s learning is processed through vision! When the sensory system doesn’t know how to process visual information, then the vision system can’t develop correctly. This results in developmental vision problems such as eye teaming (binocular), eye tracking (oculomotor) and eye focusing (accommodation).

Now you can see why a developmental optometrist can change the life of a child with sensory integration issues! We help the child’s (or adult’s) brain develop normally through guided activities and practice, which can completely change how they see the world!