SPD Information Symptoms Impact on the Senses

Impact on the Senses

The Sense of Vision

Overview of the Visual Sense

A fully functional sense of sight is very well structured. While it is an important aspect, there is much more to vision than just eyesight, which is observed as 20/20 eyesight, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and blurriness. Vision is also responsible for processing and tracking movement throughout the field of vision. It also regulates the interpretation of color, tint, and the sharpness of images.

If well regulated, a person will be able to effectively follow and process movement without agitation or under-responsiveness, and react accordingly to what they see. They have the hand-eye coordination to hit or catch a moving object, the depth perception to navigate their body and park their car, and the acuity to notice everything in their area of focus. They will not get easily irritated by bright lights and their eyes will habituate and adjust to the lighting in their surroundings appropriately. They will also have a necessary fight or flight reaction to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle or catch themselves while falling. Vision is one of the most relied upon senses and one of the most agitating senses to have operating poorly.

Visual Defensiveness

Hypersensitivities in vision are numerous and can highly impair a person's functioning. One of the most commonly mentioned visual sensitivities is the sensitivity to light. Florescent lighting and any higher level of lighting can be distressing, causing a person need to blink or squint their eyes constantly. Many sufferers will have difficulty focusing on sunny days, and may even prefer dark, gloomy days, during which they have an easier time focusing.

A sudden presence or changing of lighting, especially flashing lights, can cause a person with light sensory defensiveness to startle into fight or flight, or cause a generally high level of stress. A hypersensitivity to visual tracking and processing can cause a patient to become fearful, distressed, and anxious whenever there is a quick sudden movement, or if they try to track a slow moving object through their visual field. They may also be sensitive to colors, which can make everything appear incredibly vibrant, causing a potential overload.

Their eyes will also have a hard time habituating movement and light. It may take longer, or be impossible, for the eyes to adjust to a change in lighting, or for them not to be distracted and irritated by background movement and flashing. They may need to often retreat to dark, unmoving places and sleep in a room without any light. Headaches are also common and sufferers will often rub their eyes, which may water frequently.

Visual Under-Responsiveness

A hyposensitive responder to vision may need a lot of light and visual movement to stimulate their under-responding nervous systems. They may have a hard time focusing without a lot of light and crave brilliant, sunny days. They may fail to recognize when people enter a room or navigate through a crowded hallway, failing to respond to others in the line of vision. They may not notice or become fearful around threatening sights, as they cannot see the danger.

Visual Seeking

A seeker of visual input may surround themselves in vivid, flashing, or blinking lights, as they are fascinated by what they see and their nervous system will better regulate with the exposure. Fast moving objects may also be mesmerizing and easily distract them. They may also stare directly at lights.

Visual Discrimination Disorder

Those suffering the effects of a Visual Discrimination Disorder will have great difficulty determining what they see in front of them. There are VERY many steps to the processing of visual information, and dysfunctions in any one of these steps can have major and aggravating effects on a person's ability to enjoy life to its fullest. Those with discrimination issues will have difficulty noticing things that obstruct their path while walking. They may have impaired depth perception. They often have great difficult with many motor activities, and have a hard time in sports as a child, and have a lousy experience while learning to drive, often having problems with merging and parking. They may also have impaired hand-eye coordination, and may prefer to do things without even looking, not trusting their own eyes.