The Visual Sensory System

This sensory system identifies sights and understands what the eyes see. It is different to visual acuity, which is how well we can see.  The visual system is our most dominant, relied upon sense and when the other senses are impaired, it can take over some of their responsibilities.

What is Vision?

Vision refers to the way we see the world and it works together with visual perception to help us interpret and understand what we see. It is estimated that 80-85% of our perception and learning are facilitated through our visual sense. Vision is important for a lot of different skills including interacting with others, spotting danger or opportunities to play, eating, sleeping, finding things we need, reading, writing and playing sports. In fact we use our vision for almost everything we do!

How does it help?

The visual system works closely with our vestibular and auditory systems as together they help us to safely navigate in our environment, orientating us to where we are in relation to other objects and with social interactions.

“Listen to a piece of information and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%” (Medina, 2014)

This tells us how much information our brain receives from the processing of our visual sense.

Main functional uses of vision

  • Important sense for safety and survival
  • Attention, registration and orientation
  • Identification of objects in the environment
  • Reinforces learning through other sensory channels
  • Guides motor functions and posture
  • Social communication and interaction