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What Is an Eye Coordination Test?

A baseball player needs excellent hand-eye coordination.
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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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An eye coordination test, also known as a hand-eye coordination test, provides a look at the relationship between visual and physical responsiveness. An eye coordination test falls within the broader category of coordination tests, tests that focus on the ability to harmoniously move and control two different parts of the body. Eye coordination is a rudimentary motor skill that begins to develop from birth, and for proper vision the eyes have to work in harmony. Each eye sees a slightly different image, and the images are fused together in the brain to create one cohesive picture. The hands respond to these visual cues to carry out various tasks such as writing, reading, or catching a ball.

Eye coordination is developed through practice. Individuals with poor eye muscle control can have poor eye coordination and may display noticeable signs that a problem is present. Typical signs of eye coordination problems include headaches, eye fatigue, and dizziness. Children with underdeveloped eye coordination may avoid tasks that depend on this skill, including reading or homework tasks involving intense eye focus.

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Generally, an optometrist will perform an eye coordination test on a young child during a scheduled visit. The test will generally be given as part of a complete vision examination that examines the child’s ability to see at a distance, to focus with the eyes, and their clarity of vision. Those with poor eye coordination often suffer from other eye conditions such as being crossed eye, a condition where the eyes are out of alignment. Usually, the poor eye coordination is treatable once the underlying eye condition has been resolved. Even if improper development of eye muscle control is the cause of the problem, it is also generally successfully treated with vision therapy, medication, and wearing sunglasses.

Good hand-eye coordination is also beneficial in sports. The hands of a baseball player, for instance, need to be able to quickly react to a ball that he can see coming toward his face at a high speed. Eye coordination tests that evaluate sports performance are often given by sports coaches as part of a physical evaluation. One such test that may be done is to have the athlete stand in front of a wall, throwing and catching a ball. During the test, the athlete can use only one hand at a time, and with each catch or throw the ball is switched from hand to hand.

Regular sports activity will naturally help to improve coordination. Periodically, measuring and recording the results of an eye coordination test can help assess improvements in dexterity as time progresses or indicate that additional development is needed. Reaction times, the speed at which a response is taken to a visual stimulus, may also be combined with an eye coordination test to more accurately measure athletic performance.

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