Behavioural Optometry is many things to many people even within the profession. The common link is the understanding of vision and how to encourage its development. Defining Behavioural Optometry involves understanding how vision differs from eyesight. Traditional optometry is more concerned with eyesight whilst Behavioural Optometry is more interested in vision. It tends to be more holistic in its approach as it tries to incorporate the physical, neurological and developmental aspects of vision. It is especially suited to those with eye motor control problems, lazy eyes, developmental delays, neurological damage or learning delays.
More specifically vision refers to sharpness of sight at distance and near; the ability to aim and focus the eyes properly especially for near vision tasks such as reading and computers; tracking the eye movements for reading fluency and accuracy; measuring the visual information each the eyes take in and of course health of the eyes both inside and out.
Behavioural Optometry includes:
- Measurement of focus and eye coordination function issues that can affect visual comfort & performance when reading, writing and using digital devices
- Measurement of distance focus, especially if the patient is experiencing difficulty looking up clearly from computers, or blurred distance which could be myopia (shortsightedness) developing as a result of extended usage of digital devices
- Testing & treatment of lazy eye (amblyopia) and turned eye (strabismus), using glasses and sometimes vision therapy
- Testing and treatment of development of tracking eye movement abilities for reading fluency
- Testing & treatment of a child’s developed skills of visual perception / processing to ensure these abilities are consistent with children their age and if they are affecting their ability to learn to read, write and achieve to their full potential
- Testing and management of visual issues associated with health and neurological conditions, i.e. stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s disease, concussion and whiplash
Goals of Behavioural Optometry:
- Prevent vision and eye problems from developing further / deteriorating
- Provide treatment for visual issues that have already developed such as eye turn or myopia
- Ensure the visual abilities needed in the classroom, workplace, during sport or using digital devices are developed properly and working normally
To achieve these goals, David may recommend:
- Spending more time outdoors
- Prescription eyewear
- Vision Therapy – To improve visual function and processing development
- Tinted lenses where indicated by specific testing for those with migraines or affected by a concussion
Although traditionally the majority of Behavioural Optometrists’ patients have been children, it may be suitable for patients of any age if their condition is likely to respond to this treatment.
If you think Behavioural Optometry is right for you or your child, book an appointment online to see David.