What monocular vision is, how to help a pupil with monocular vision.

What monocular vision is

Monocular vision is vision in one eye only. 

It can reduce:

  • three-dimensional perception 
  • the peripheral visual field: approximately a fifth of the field of vision may be lost 
  • visual acuity: people generally see better with both eyes together than with either eye separately

Generally, people with monocular vision from birth have naturally adapted to this and don’t have significant difficulties. People who suddenly lose vision in one eye can have more difficulties.

People with monocular vision might find it difficult to:

  • judge unfamiliar stairs, steps, curbs, slopes, uneven ground, and escalators (depth perception) 
  • take part in sports or any other activity involving judgment of speed, depth and direction, including oncoming traffic
  • recognise three dimensional images: things may seem ‘flat’

How to help a pupil with monocular vision

Things that can help a pupil with monocular vision include:

  • lighting: light helps with depth perception, so lights that create shadows for objects may give depth clues
  • contrast: contrasting colour doorframes, reflective strips on the edges of stairs, or painting walls contrasting colours will help with depth perception
  • positioning: consider where the pupil should sit in your seating plans, position yourself on the student's ‘good side’, and make sure most of the room is on their 'good side'
  • attention gaining: you may be just outside of the pupil’s field of vision, so they won’t have picked up on visual clues. Say their name to attract their attention, and then talk to them. 
  • activities and games that involve catching and throwing: these can help a pupil begin to adjust in terms of where things are in relation to other objects and judging distances 
  • eye and head movements: these can compensate for field loss, for example, by moving the eyes or head from side to side a pupil can work out the width of a door and how to move safely

Pupils with monocular vision might also need help with:

  • corridors: if walking down a narrow walkway, encourage the pupil to have their ‘blind side’ nearest to the wall
  • landmarks: teach the pupil to notice permanent landmarks, to help them identify where they are
  • road crossings: teach the pupil to look for and use controlled crossings

Contact us
Sensory Support Service
Elmfield House
Greystoke Avenue
Westbury-on-Trym
BS10 6AY

Phone: 0117 903 8442
Text: 07810 506 669
Email: sensorysupportservice@bristol.gov.uk