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What is a Behavioural Optometrist?

A Behavioural or Developmental optometrist looks at many different areas of vision in adults and children.  Vision is more than just sight.  Vision has to coordinate with the rest of the body for balance, movement, reading and writing and is influenced by such things as nutrition, stress levels, medication, health issues and is impacted by the activities that you use your eyes for.

Cartoon Puzzle kids

A Behavioural Optometrist will assess the health of the eye and the ability of the eyes to see to the bottom line of the letter chart.  They will also assess the mechanical actions of the eyes such as the focus (accommodation), the eye movements (vergence) and the teaming of the eyes (binocular vision).   These parts of the eye’s inner workings must have accuracy, stamina and flexibility and be able to work easily and efficiently through a school or work day.  If too much effort is going into just using the eyes to keep the picture clear and single then it can detract from a person’s ability to get things done.   If vision isn’t working easily and efficiently it can lead to a lack of attention, poor concentration, headaches, fatigue, frustration, and avoidance behaviours.

A Behavioural Optometrist can also test Vision Processing.  This is the ability of the brain to interpret the pictures that are being sent through from the eyes.   Vision connects through to a large number of areas within the brain that are used for movement and making sense of the world.  Because of these brain connections, vision links in with many other parts of the body such as the ears for balance and the body and hands for the visual motor control needed for reading and writing development.

Behavioural Optometrists also study how vision develops throughout childhood to assess if a child is visually ready to learn to read and write at school.   This knowledge is also vital to ensure that those with learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD, developmental delays, autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome are able to reach their full visual potential and are not hindered further by an undiagnosed visual problem.

Why Choose a Behavioural Optometrist:

  • explores how someone’s eyes work in the distance but also how they work when reading or using various types of technology
  • ensures that the focus, movements and teaming of the eyes are working efficiently and have the stamina for everything that you need them to do
  • manages amblyopia and strabismus (turned eyes)
  • assesses vision processing skills
  • provides vision therapy services
  • ensures vision development in children is progressing as it should and is not impacting their ability to learn
  • works with children and adults with learning difficulties, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Parkinsons and those with special needs or who are developmentally delayed and those who have had a stroke or head injury
  • takes a holistic approach and uses information from teachers and other professionals to understand everything that is of concern to the person
  • understands the health of the eye and how your body health impacts eyes



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