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What is OKN?

OKN, or optokinetic nystagmus, is the reflexive eye movement response to moving targets: eyes will follow moving targets. It is a natural behavior of the eyes.

When a target leaves the visible field, the eye’s ability to make corrective adjustments is a sign of a normally functioning visual system.

By using OKN, no verbal communication is needed between the tester and the patient; therefore, the visual acuity testing can be extended to pre-verbal and non-verbal patients.

 

What is Visual Acuity?

There is consensus among healthcare providers that the earlier a vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the less the potential negative impact on the child’s development, delayed reading and poor overall school performance.

Early vision development is critical for infants and toddlers: 90% of early learning is related to visual input.

Criticality of earlier vision impairment detection takes an even more dramatic turn when you consider amblyopia (lazy eye). Amblyopia is the leading cause of visual impairment and visual loss in children. About 15%-20% of children are at risk for amblyopia. Amblyopia treatment efficacy declines after age 5 and irreversible neurologic damage occurs if treatment is delayed after age 8.

The economic burden of visual disabilities related to amblyopia is estimated at $23 billion per year when income and quality of life are considered.