– Visual Assessment and Reset

This is another powerful test and reset which can help to improve movement and hand-eye coordination. It is important to note that there are a multitude of visual assessments available. In this particular assessment, we will observe the tracking of both eyes. Regardless of which eye tracks better, we will use a specific strategy to reset the eyes and improve tracking. While I do not have research to support this assessment, it does not mean that research does not exist, and we know that it generally works very well. In an effort to give credit where credit is due, this assessment and reset comes from Z-Health (and was taught to me by the amazing Deanna Cordova).

Pre-assessment exercise #1:

Prior to the visual assessment, find a ball, stand at least 10 feet apart or more, and play catch with your client. Pick a number of times you will each throw and catch the ball. Perhaps you do this 20 times. Count how many times your client catches the ball and how many times they drop the ball. Make a note of this and move on to the next exercise.

Pre-assessment exercise #2:

Place a piece of tape on a wall at a height of around 6 feet. Have the patient stand about 3 feet from the wall. Cue the client to toss the ball against the wall with the goal of hitting the target (the tape) every time. Pick a number of throws – perhaps 25. Count how many times the patient hits the target and make a note of it. Now, move on to the assessment and reset.

Assessment instructions (Tester will need a pen or pencil):

• Have the client get into a comfortable standing or seated position
• Tester: position yourself directly in front of your patient
• Starting several inches away from the patients face, position the pencil directly in front of the patients’ nose
• Slowly move the pencil towards the patients nose and cue the patient to see the pencil as one for as long as they can
• Their eyes will start to track inward towards their nose
• Observe which eye tracks better or moves inward farther
• Occasionally, you may not notice any difference in tracking, but normally, you will notice a difference
• When the client can no longer see the pencil as one (they reached their maximum and now see two pencils), start over and repeat 2-3 times. See if the eyes start to track better or more evenly

Reset instructions (use the downloadable eye chart on the book support website and perform the following exercise):

• Tape the eye chart to a wall, positioning it with the top of the chart at eye level of your client
• The chart contains two columns of letters
• Have your patient cover their right eye
• Then, have them use the left eye to read each character moving side to side between columns from top to bottom as rapidly as possible
• Repeat four more times for a total of 5 times, rapidly reading characters side to side starting at top and working down to the bottom
• Testers: be sure to position yourself so you can see the eye moving and be sure the eye is moving rapidly from side to side (and not just from top to bottom)
• Now, have the patient cover their left eye and repeat the exercise with the right eye.

Reassessment instructions (Tester will need a pen or pencil):

• Have the client get into a comfortable standing or seated position
• Tester: position yourself directly in front of your patient
• Starting several inches away from the patients face, position the pencil directly in front of the patients’ nose
• Slowly move the pencil towards the patients nose and cue the patient to see the pencil as one for as long as they can
• Their eyes will start to track inward towards their nose
• Observe which eye tracks better or moves inward farther
• Occasionally, you may not notice any difference in tracking, but normally, you will notice a difference
• When the client can no longer see the pencil as one (they reached their maximum and now see two pencils), start over and repeat 2-3 times. See if the eyes start to track better or more evenly

Did you notice improvements in the tracking of either eye? In the hundreds of times we have performed this assessment and reset, we almost always notice an improvement in eye tracking, especially of the eye that was not tracking as well in the first assessment.

Post-assessment exercise #1:

Exactly as you did before the visual assessment, find a ball, stand the exact distance apart from your client as in the pre-assessment exercise. Throw and catch the ball the same number of times as in the pre-assessment. Count how many times your client catches the ball and how many times they drop the ball. Make a note of this and move on to the next exercise.

Post-assessment exercise #2:

Repeat this exercise in exactly the same way as in the pre-assessment, with target at the same height on the wall and client standing the same distance from the wall. Cue the client to toss the ball against the wall with the goal of hitting the target.

Did you notice improvements in the post-assessment exercises? This visual reset exercise has proven to be highly effective in temporarily improving eye tracking and hand-eye coordination. In fact, I have visual issues. I have had cornea transplants and depth perception issues all my life. When playing catch with a client, I am famous for dropping the ball more than I catch it.

Deanna Cordova performed this assessment and reset on me. When covering my left eye, I was able to use the chart to reset the right eye. However, when covering my right eye, I informed her that I am blind in my left eye. I only see light and dark – and nothing else.

Can’t see? No problem.

She had me cover my right eye and rapidly move my left eye back and forth (side to side between columns of letters) as fast as possible. I pretended I could see the chart. I performed what I thought might be 5 times from top to bottom of the chart (not knowing how many characters were on the chart because I could not see them).

We played catch immediately after the reset and BINGO! Even though I am blind in the left eye, I caught the ball over 90% of the time, rather than less than 50% prior to the reset.

Even more exciting was upon my return to Syracuse the next day, I met with my friend and client, Jerry Evensky. Jerry is well aware that I drop the ball more than I catch it. We played catch for the first time since my visual reset and Jerry commented “what’s going on with you? You are catching the ball every time? What’s happening?”

Needless to say, I was so happy to realize this improvement in hand-eye coordination. It also caused an improvement in my depth perception.

These improvements lasted for about one week, then I went back to my usual dropping of the ball.

All I needed to do was put up the eye chart and do the exercise again – covering each eye while tracking top to bottom of the chart with the open eye. I do this every few days and it helps greatly.

More important to me is that when implementing this exercise with my clients (whether they have a movement disorder or not), improvements in hand-eye coordination and depth perception are almost always realized.