Visual perception is what gives meaning to all information entering the eyes. Visual perception is a complex system in the brain that converts what the eyes see into a three-dimensional world. As we look around our environments, we see all kinds of objects and each of those objects has a different meaning. When socializing with friends or family, the faces of the people we recognize are associated with names. For people with visual perception impairments, interacting with objects or people can be a challenge every day.
'Figure-ground' refers to the tendency of vision to separate single objects from everything else that forms the background. People with figure-ground impairments often have difficulty picking out a single object amongst other objects. For example, they may not be able to select a fork from a cluttered cutlery drawer.
Visual agnosia is a condition where a person cannot visually recognize objects despite having no deficit in basic visual functioning, language or memory. The two main categories of visual object agnosia are apperceptive agnosia and associative agnosia. For people with apperceptive agnosia, they cannot match or copy objects. However, they can identify and name objects using other senses such as touch or sound. For people with associative agnosia, they can copy, draw and name objects from verbal descriptions, but they cannot describe the function of objects. Prosopagnosia is another visual perceptual deficit characterized by the inability to recognize familiar faces. In very severe cases, the person does not recognize their face while looking into a mirror.
Occupational therapists aim to reduce the impact of visual perception impairments on a person's ability to participate in meaningful activities. Speak with your physician or book an appointment with an occupational therapist today.
Reference: Grieve, June, and Linda Maskill. Neuropsychology for Occupational Therapists: Cognition in Occupational Performance. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.