The U.S. is an aging population and the birth rate hit a record low in 2020. Knowing that, it makes sense that there are now numerous mobile apps that target an older clientele. Some of these apps aim to help older adults maintain an agile brain by improving memory and increasing focus. New on the app market are also those for eye-hand coordination.
Apps can certainly have their place, but we suggest putting down your phone and taking a time-tested approach.
What Is Eye-Hand Coordination?
Merriam-Webster defines eye-hand coordination (also called hand-eye coordination) as “the way that one’s hands and sight work together to be able to do things that require speed and accuracy (such as catching or hitting a ball).” Your vision coordinates the information that the eyes receive to help guide the movement of the hands.
Since vision often declines with age, the relationship between vision and hands can often suffer as well.
Why Is Coordination Important?
Professional baseball players aren’t the only ones who need good eye-hand coordination. You use this important relationship for many everyday activities such as writing and buttoning your shirt. Poor eye-hand coordination makes balance more difficult, affecting walking and exercising.
There are many other daily tasks impacted by eye-hand coordination:
- Tying a Necktie or Scarf
- Dialing a Phone
- Putting a Key in a Lock
Activities that Improve Eye-Hand Coordination
Some decline may be unavoidable, but don’t throw your hands up in the air (pun intended). Easy activities you can do on your own or with a partner can limit how much your nimble dexterity erodes. Movement that requires both fine and gross motor skills is especially beneficial.
Try any of the following to maintain or improve your eye-hand coordination. If you have any questions about what is appropriate for you, speak first to your doctor.
- Table Tennis
- Tai Chi
- Juggling/Catch a Ball
- Jumping Rope
- Dribbling a Ball
- Balance Exercises
- Playing a Musical Instrument
Any activity that combines eye tracking and hand movement can be helpful to improve coordination.
Maintain Healthy Eyes for Coordination
Your vision and your brain’s ability to process what you see are the cornerstones of good eye-hand coordination. Comprehensive eye exams can check for several visual skills as well as the overall health of the eye structure.
You can help support healthy eyes by eating a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E can thwart age-related problems. Give your eyes a break by wearing sunglasses when outside and looking away from computer screens regularly. Smoking can increase your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration – just two more great reasons to quit the habit.
Look to a Professional for Advice
If you are experiencing sudden changes to your coordination, don’t brush it off as simple clumsiness. Visit your doctor to rule out a neurological condition that could be causing the unexpected decline.
A physical therapist can also work with your specific abilities to design an exercise and activity plan to improve your coordination and put a halt to further loss. At ProFysio Physical Therapy, our specialists can help you improve your flexibility, strength, mobility, and coordination.
To learn more about how we could help you, call us at (732) 812-5200 or use our online form to schedule a no-cost consultation.