What is hand eye coordination and how to improve it?

By | March 17, 2021

Hand-eye coordination is the ability of our eyes to perceive movement and, in turn, direct and control a motor movement using our hands, in response to a certain stimulus. This is possible thanks to vision, since it has different skills. Among them we find accommodation, convergence, binocularity and motor coordination when responding to a stimulus. The above abilities make it possible to focus, point with the eye and group objects.

These skills are usually acquired when we are little; for example, when we should try to color without getting out of line. Well, right at that stage the skills for good hand-eye coordination are acquired. The vision identifies how far we can color to meet the condition set in the work. Thus, by means of the hands we can color up to where we had already identified.

Some examples of the use of hand-eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination is necessary for all the activities we do on a daily basis.

Here are some more examples of the use of hand-eye coordination to make it easier to identify and define this important concept:

  • When we are babies and we struggle to reach an object: in this moment that usually occurs in the middle of the game, we are using our hand-eye coordination. Just when we identify the object we want and go for it.
  • By using our proprioception: at that moment we are using our eyes to help our brain identify where our body is located in space.
  • When we write: whether in our agendas or in any other space, our vision is providing us with information on how we are writing and on which line we should write.

Development in age

We begin to develop hand-eye coordination from birth to age seven. This thanks to we began to foster a vision that allows us to identify concepts of place and direction such as above, below, to the side, below, or diagonally. Also the ability to climb, balance, jump, push, and so on.

Thus, little by little we can acquire skills and, when we grow a little more, we realize that we can perfectly use scissors alone. We call this fine or gross motor skills, when we make coordinated but wider movements. Examples of this are lifting a leg or even waving one of our arms.

When we are adults and work or do daily activities at home, we continue to use and practice our hand-eye coordination. When working on the computer, we use this skill because the eyes eyes guide motor movement, for example, to write.

Effects of aging on hand-eye coordination

When we age, the functions in various parts of our brain usually decrease at the same time as neuromuscular competence, since at this age we won’t be able to do activities as fast as we used to. As this speed decreases, so does our vision.

Let us remember that the aging process is a natural process and is part of our life cycle, but it is inevitable that in this process there is a decrease in motor condition and vision that imminently affects hand-eye coordination.

Thus, as we are not as fast as before, we do not identify visual stimuli very well. To this diseases can be added that make this action more difficult like cataracts, myopia and astigmatism. Muscle health and arthritic situations also influence.

You can read: 8 symptoms in older adults that should not be overlooked

When to see a doctor?

Visual problems can lead to hand-eye coordination conflicts.

When we suffer from a visual disease such as myopia, glaucoma, astigmatism, cataracts or a movement disorder such as arthritis, osteoarthritis or muscle pain. It is necessary that we see a professional to provide us with tools or recommend exercises to improve hand-eye coordination, depending on our condition.

This is very important because when we suffer from any visual or motor limitation, hand-eye coordination is affected, since these two skills are essential for it to occur.

However, if we notice that our children have any visual difficulties during their development or coordination problems, it is recommended to take them to a growth and development consultation. Identifying the limitation and working on it as soon as possible can help children grow with all of their abilities intact.

Pay special attention if children spend too much time in front of digital screens, since a study revealed that these devices can cause alterations in the visual and cognitive development of children under 3 years of age.

Activities to improve it

There are some activities like games and sports that can help improve hand-eye coordination. Here we share some:

Playing sports with the ball

Playing sports or activities involving a ball such as tennis, baseball, and basketball, helps to focus attention on the ball to direct the hands where we want. Without realizing it, we will be exercising this ability.

We can also play with a ball, bouncing it off the wall. This, in addition to improving coordination, will help improve hand-eye coordination, ideal for children and adults.

Read daily

Reading a little daily will help train your eyes and keep your attention focused on the text. Also, if we can, it is important to write a little about daily experiences on paper, since the eyes will guide the hands to make the strokes we want and the eyes will be vigilant to avoid that we write outside the margin.

It may be of your interest: Routine using an exercise ball

Play with puzzles

With this game we will help memory and we will also preserve hand-eye coordination, since the visual information perceived by the eyes must be processed very well and then the pieces fit perfectly with the hands.

Practice with the kids

There are activities that we can do together with the children, so we can improve this activity as a family. For example, identify body parts and touch them synchronously. In addition to helping with hand-eye coordination, it will be very helpful for children to learn to identify their body parts.

Finally, let us remember that if we have children between zero and seven years old, it is also necessary to strengthen their gross and fine motor skills, go to annual visual controls and go to their growth and development consultations.

Hand-eye coordination: an indispensable skill

Eye-hand coordination is essential and, therefore, in the face of problems, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

As we can see, hand-eye coordination is essential in carrying out various activities of daily practice, both for adults and children. What’s more, we reinforce it day by day, even without realizing it when reading, writing, playing or even when bathing.

So when we see that, for some reason, hand-eye coordination is being affected, do not hesitate to visit the doctor, as it is important to give him a prompt solution. Remember that any situation of visual or motor health can affect this ability.

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