Good hand-eye coordination is helpful when taking part in activities that require the simultaneous use of the hands and eyes. When the hands and eyes work in sync, you can respond quickly to visual stimuli.
Good vision doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have good hand-eye coordination. Whether your vision is good or not so good, you can find ways to improve how you coordinate the use of your eyes and hands.
Hand-Eye Coordination & Why It’s Important
Representing motor development in children, hand-eye coordination supports a variety of activities throughout life. This may include tasks like handwriting, playing sports and games, cooking, eating, grasping objects, or brushing hair. As with other physical abilities, you can practice and improve this skill.
People with poor hand-eye coordination may have trouble with various tasks, including writing letters or hitting or catching a ball. They may often experience vision problems, such as eye strain. They may even have problems inserting a credit card into a chip reader, driving a car, playing a video game, or working out at the gym.
How Hand-Eye Coordination Is Impacted by Sight
Our eyes capture certain images, which are transferred to the brain. Before relaying the information to the arms and hands, the brain processes this information, such as the location of an object, its size or speed, and other related data.
People whose hands and eyes do not work in sync often experience clumsiness or frustration. This difficulty can lead to challenges professionally, academically, and developmentally.
Researchers have found that the frontal and parietal cortex of the brain work with saccadic or voluntary eye movement to support hand-eye coordination. Before a person decides which movements to make, these specific areas use neural activity to message what they elect to do.
From this research, scientists can further investigate how we can improve hand-eye coordination by moving our eyes. This entails building a spatial representation, efficiently measuring space to improve movement and visual clarity.
Vision Therapy to Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Vision therapy represents a personalized treatment program that is designed to improve visual-motor deficiencies. A specialized computer, optical devices, filters, prisms, and therapeutic lenses may be used in the treatment program.
For example, vision integrator software and algorithms may be used for incorporating eye-hand coordination with cognitive functioning and balance to improve these abilities as they relate to visual learning.
The Marsden Ball & How It Is Used
A Marsden ball is often used to improve hand-eye coordination and develop motor skills. During therapy sessions, a vision therapist moves the ball and asks the patient to perform various tasks.
For example, they may be asked to call out the letters they see on the ball. When they take part in the activity, the patient is asked to keep their head still while moving their eyes to identify certain colors or lettering.
Therapists may hang the ball from the ceiling, or they may have the patient catch or hit it with their fists, palms, or thumbs.
Using a Rotator for Vision Therapy
A therapist may also recommend use of a rotator to improve visual skills. Because efficient movement of the eyes is critical to improving reading and learning, a rotator is often used to address poor fixation and problems with visual attention.
Several plates may be used in connection with the devices, and each plate is meant for a different purpose. While some plates feature peripheral targets, others may have red and green designs to address suppression. Suppression happens when the brain ignores a visual signal transmitted by one of the eyes.
Therapists can control the rotator’s speed or alter it, depending on the activity.
Daily Drills for Improving Eye-Hand Coordination
You can also do certain exercises at home to improve your eye-hand coordination. Try these:
Tossing a Tennis Ball
Simply playing catch can improve eye-hand coordination. Simply toss a tennis ball against a wall with one hand and catch it with the other hand.
Playing Catch With a Partner
Play a quick game of catch with a partner. To improve your peripheral vision, have the other person throw high balls and balls to the left and right.
Besides EHC, this practice improves your eye-body and eye-foot abilities.
You can improve your near-far vision by using two similarly sized items, such as playing cards. Place one about 18 inches from you, and the other item about 10 feet away.
Review the details of each object, focusing first on the nearer object for about five seconds. Then, switch back and forth for about a minute.
Next, try placing the objects side-by-side, which enables you to shift your focus quickly from side to side.
Another way to improve eye-hand coordination is to shoot hoops. In this case, you’ll want to use the quiet eye method. Focus on the front rim of the basket about a second before making a shot.
Resources for EHC Assistance
If you notice your hand-eye coordination is poor, talk to your ophthalmologist or optometrist. They may recommend vision therapy, and they can likely refer you to a vision therapist.
EHC & Aging
Eye-hand coordination normally declines somewhat with age. This affects reflexes, accuracy, and speed when playing sports or performing daily activities. While some decline is natural, further or faster decline may result from poor health, vision loss, or changes in cerebral wiring.
Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help to keep you in good shape, and this can help to preserve your hand-eye coordination as long as possible. Research shows that changes or slowness in EHC affects older adults as well as sedentary younger participants. So, it’s important to keep moving and make regular exercise part of your routine.
Get Help if Needed
How you coordinate your eyes and hands is extremely important when performing daily tasks and improving your vision health. If you need improvement in this area, you can use vision therapy to increase your eye-hand coordination.
Don’t be afraid to talk to an eye doctor for further assistance. The sooner you take action, the better your long-term results.
The Complexity of Eye-Hand Coordination: A Perspective on Cortico-Cerebellar Cooperation. (November 2020). Cerebellum & Ataxias.
Practicing Vision: Integration, Evaluation and Applications. (February 1997). Science Direct.
Vision therapy: A Top 10 Must-Have List. (July 2014). Optometry Times.
Quiet Eye Training Improves Accuracy in Basketball Field Goal Shooting. (August 2017). Progress in Brain Research.
Both Age and Physical Activity Level Impact on Eye-Hand Coordination. (June 2014). Human Movement Science.
Last Updated March 15, 2023
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