Several of our PT’s recently took a continuing education course where they talked about the differences between focal and ambient vision. Focal vision is what you are looking directly at and can operate on its own. Ambient vision is what takes in everything going on around you and provides information back to your body so that you can make adjustments as you travel through the world. For instance when if you were to be looking at your phone while walking across a room, your focal vision is focusing on your phone and your ambient vision is noticing if there is anyone about to walk into you or any obstacles in your path so that you can make adjustments without crashing or falling.
Sometimes kids have trouble using their ambient vision making it hard for them to navigate in a busy world. One of the suggestions at the course was to take inexpensive glasses and take out the lenses. Once that was done apply electrical tape, or some other type of tape across the inner part of it. You want to basically block half of the eye for whoever is wearing the glasses (so obviously the amount of tape needed will vary person to person, or child to child). If the child has challenges with their ambient vision, when they wear these glasses, it will limit the use of the focal vision and allow them to focus more on the ambient vision. You may notice improved posture and improved ability to navigate a crowded environment.
We had a child who really struggled to pay attention to the environment and was frequently tripping and falling. We decided to try the glasses out while navigating an obstacle course (all tasks were ones that we knew the child was able to complete). When asked to do the obstacle course without the glasses, there were several episodes of tripping and falling. With the glasses the child was able to navigate without any tripping or falling. And as you can see they didn’t have any fun at all while wearing the glasses! (yes I’m joking)
We were able to tell the child’s parents about this so they could look into it further but we have also continued to use the glasses and have noticed improved navigation of obstacles when we take the glasses off at the end of the session.
Has anyone else worked on these areas? What has worked for you? How was carryover and success?