To the regular eye, Spot-It may seem like your stereotypical mundane matching card game. However, for vision therapists, it’s their greatest tool. The principles of this card game can be applied to any age group, from age 5 to age 50! A therapist can tell how well someone can uphold their basic eye movements within one round of Spot-It. Such as they are able to keep their focus on an object, how well they can track and how well they are able to follow.
One might ask, how can you see how well someone can keep their focus on a simple card game? The whole point of spot-it is to be able to keep your focus long enough to distinguish all the characters on both cards to find a match. What we typically see in the therapy room, is once a patient looks at one card, they’ll take a quick break and look around and then come back to the second card to try to find the match; however, due to the loss of attention they end up having to switch back and forth from card to card again due to them not being able to keep their attention. This is where their ability to track comes into play. In this case, the act of switching from card to card while comparing the object to object is called Saccades. If a person has poor saccades, they’re the ones who can’t call out the match as fast as they should. Instead, they can bounce from card to card while maintaining focus but cannot distinguish the matching characters. What would happen if the cards were gently moved around as you searched for the matching item? We’re now incorporating all three of the basic eye movements. With the patient looking at each item on the card without any interruption in their focus, they’re working on their Fixation skills. Alongside fixation, the patient having to switch their focus from card to card to find the matching item is now working their Saccades. Finally, the act of having to follow the cards around as its gently being moved, they’re working on their Pursuits. So the next time you and your family play spot, see what eye movements you use!