Quick Facts

  • Visual perception takes place in the brain after the information is received through the eye; the brain helps us understand and make sense of what we see
  • Visual perception dysfunction is common following brain injury; the brain reduces or distorts the image that is seen by the individual
  • Visual neglect is a spatial inattention to one side

What does it
look like?

  • Difficulty seeing objects
  • Difficulty realizing the spatial orientation of objects
  • Difficulty separating an object from background stimuli
  • Difficulty recognizing an object if too many are presented at once
  • Inability to recognize features and relationships among various features (e.g. doesn’t know that the nose is between the eyes)
  • Inability to distinguish differences in shape and colour
  • Inability to perceive motion in field of view (e.g. may draw only half of something, shave or apply make-up on only half of their face)

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Damage to the parietal and/or occipital lobes
  • Visual neglect is usually due to damage to the parietal lobe

Possible complications:

  • Individuals may not realize they are not perceiving the world the same way as other people

What can we do?

  • Avoid excessive visual stimulation; maintain clutter-free visual space
  • Use arrows, highlighters, and labels to focus the individual on specific objects
  • Repeat or lengthen viewing times to allow the person to identify and understand what is being seen
  • Use a multi-sensory approach to communicate (e.g., pictures and gestures)
  • Don’t assume that the individual has seen or recognized something; ask for a verbal description
  • Visual neglect strategies:
    • Avoid approaching the individual from the affected side
    • Cue the individual to attend to things in the visual neglect field