presented by Cynthia N. Potter
This course provides participants with an overview of the visual system and its development, definitions of blindness and low vision/partial sight, and the incidence of visual impairments. Components of visual screening and examination are presented and relevance of test results to physical therapy treatment is discussed.
Cindy Potter, PT, MS, DPT, has worked with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in many different practice settings, including early intervention, outpatient, preschool, school, community-based settings, and ICF/IDD facilities for 39 years. She earned a BS in biology and English writing from Allegheny College, an MS in health-related professions (developmental disabilities track) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Slippery Rock University. She is a former associate professor and chair of the Graduate School of Physical Therapy at Slippery Rock University. She currently serves as chairman of the State Board of Physical Therapy in Pennsylvania and is in her third term on the licensure board. She has presented internationally and has published in peer-reviewed journals. With a strong interest in global health, she has served on 20 medical missions and is the president of the non-profit Honduras Hope Mission, Inc.
This chapter provides participants with an overview of the development of the visual system, including prenatal development and critical periods of development after birth. Visual behaviors in typical development and important elements for continued development of the visual system are described.
This chapter reviews the incidence of visual impairments and identifies those children who are at high risk. Definitions of visual impairments are explained.
The physical therapist must understand these components to appreciate the impact that a child’s visual capabilities have on their ability to benefit from therapy. Designing effective treatment strategies is based on the understanding of the child’s visual capacity and are imperative to the visual screening. Components of clinical vision screening and examination and functional vision assessment are reviewed.