VERA (Visual Efficiency RAting) is a unique screening and referral program for common vision issues which affect eyesight and for visual abilities which can affect reading, learning, and occupational performance.
Visual Efficiency RAting
What is VERA?
VERA™ is a two-part vision screening program designed for school health, occupational therapy, and special education settings. VERA’s school health component identifies more students with common vision difficulties, generates referral letters to optometrists and parents, and demographic reports for school nurses and administration. Through these reports, VERA identifies vision issues and promotes timely vision care.
VERA’s unique “visual efficiency” screening component allows occupational therapists and special educators to rate focusing, eye-teaming, and eye tracking abilities which are crucial to attentive reading and learning. Strategies are also provided to support these identified students. VERA has been patented and program components have been tested on over a million students.
The burden of undetected vision problems
Even the most rigorous school vision screening programs will miss visual efficiency issues, which can be present as well in children with normal or corrected visual acuity. Affected children may have difficulty with reading or handwriting, have chronic behavioral issues, and may be labeled as dyslexic or having ADHD. That’s why it’s so important to have thorough and reliable routine vision screening, reporting, and follow-up of vision referrals and a screening for visual efficiency.
School vision screening often misses common vision issues such as visual acuity, farsightedness, or whether a student has properly functioning binocular vision. When issues are identified, vision care is often delayed or absent because of incomplete and time-consuming follow-up to parents. VERA’s routine screening consistently identifies more common vision deficits, enables automated follow-up of unfulfilled vision referrals, and identifies students who aren’t seeing well.
Students who pass a near visual acuity test can still have reading and learning issues because they can’t easily sustain clear vision for reading. These “visual efficiency” problems are based in control of not only eye tracking ability, but of focusing and eye teaming as well. Abnormal visual efficiency is associated with poor reading ability, comprehension, ADHD, dyslexia, and chronic behavioral issues. Undetected inefficient vision places a burden not only on students, but on teachers, special educators and occupational therapists needing to understand the components of student’s learning issues in order to best direct support. Instead of the small fraction of these students who are now identified during a chance encounter with a practitioner who tests for and treats these issues, it is possible to identify the majority of these students.
Targeted VERA screening
The VERA routine screening is intended for most subjects 5 and older. The visual efficiency screening is most appropriate for subjects age 7 through early 30’s, before which a normal developmental lag may be mistaken for visual inefficiency and after which a normal decrease in focusing ability may yield a false positive.
Traumatic Brain Injuries or Stress Disorders
It is important to be able to screen for visual acuity and for vision problems which can manifest with acquired brain injury or PTSD, including:
- Accommodative disorders which impede activities requiring visual concentration on small objects or print at a close distance.
- Binocular vision disorders which may cause double vision, interfere with eye-hand coordination and mobility tasks or cause eyestrain or even loss of vision. These disorders can contribute to difficulty with driving, playing sports, reaching for objects or pouring liquids.
- Eye movement disorders which affect ability to read quickly, comfortably, and with adequate comprehension and attention.
We’re incorporating VERA as the primary screening tool used in Binovi Connect. Using the effective and proven technology that is VERA, Binovi Connect will allow vision care providers to conduct high-level initial screening of students both in-person and remotely with the goal of identifying issues that would otherwise go undetected.