Visual perceptual deficits, also known as visual processing disorders, are the term used to describe defects in the ability to make sense of visual information. This doesn’t mean that they are unable to see at all, but instead, they have a problem with the way in which their brain interprets and processes visual information. While many people are born with visual perceptual deficits, others develop them as a result of a traumatic brain injury.
Not everyone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury will necessarily develop visual perceptual deficits, but it is a common occurrence. Exactly which visual perceptual deficits you experience will largely depend on which areas of your brain and visual processing system have been affected by your injury.
There are a wide range of individual elements necessary for completely accurate visual perception. This means that there are also several different types of visual perceptual impairments. These include the following:
As you’ve probably guessed, this refers to the ability to accurately tell different colors apart. This doesn’t always refer to complete color-blindness. Many people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury experience specific color deficits, experience vision in shades of gray, or find that colors don’t look as bright as before, which can make it harder to tell similar shades apart.
This refers to the ability to recognize shapes and objects when they are viewed from different angles or distances, or when they are of different sizes. For example, someone may not be able to tell a pencil apart from a ruler when they are viewed end-on. They may also struggle to tell people apart when they are seen from an unusual angle.
How easy do you find it to tell an object apart from the background surrounding it? That’s what figure-ground perception refers to. People who experience this visual perceptual deficit can struggle to filter out irrelevant surrounding items from the object that they are viewing. For example, picking out a sock placed onto a blanket, or selecting a ruler from a pot of pens.
Many people already understand depth perception, which refers to the ability to see or judge how far away something is based on how much space there is between it and other objects. People with issues with depth perception can find it hard to walk up and down stairs, step onto escalators, and park their car.
This too is a very important visual skill for day-to-day life and refers to how well you can judge movement and speed. Some of the tasks that people with motion perception difficulties face include knowing how fast to walk, judging the speed of oncoming traffic, playing/participating in sports, pouring drinks, and driving.
People with a lack of spatial awareness lack the ability to judge the size, shape, movement, and orientation of objects in any amount of space. Something may be much further away than they realize, or they could bump into objects because they are much closer than anticipated.
Many visual perceptual deficits can be improved using vision training. This involves performing specific exercises that are designed to strengthen identified visual skills. The first step to doing this is to have an in-depth visual perceptual evaluation with our knowledgeable and experienced team.
To learn more about visual perceptual deficits or to see if you have one, contact Bernstein Center for Visual Performance in White Plains, New York at (914) 682-8886 today to schedule your appointment.