An optometrist is an individual who provides professional eye care services. Everybody is familiar with the standard optometrist who is responsible for performing various vision tests and then analyzing the results. Some of the vision tests include finding if whether the patient is suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye diseases, and other conditions. They are also responsible for prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses, and so on.
Though the term standard optometrist is quite common, not many are aware of the term ‘behavioural optometrist’. Unlike a standard optometrist who performs various eye examinations and analyzes the results, a behavioural optometrist analyzes an individual’s eyes and eye condition by assessing the entire behavior of the person. So rather than testing just the yes, these behavioural optometrists try and understand the behavior of the person and see how the individual uses and takes advantage of their visual system.
In simple terms, behavioural optometry can be described as a specific field of optometry where the assessment is done not just on the eyesight but how the brain processes the various sights. This form of optometry is also known as functional or neurodevelopmental optometry.
Behavioural Optometry and Children’s Vision
Various researches have resulted that at least one in every four school-going children has a visual problem which has not been diagnosed. Undergoing the standard eye examinations is not effective in analyzing the difficulties of visual processing. In order to gain the accurate analysis, it is important to consult a behavioural optometrist who can better analyze the brain-eye connection.
So why is it important for children to undergo a consultation with a behavioural optometrist? When a child is facing visual problems, it becomes difficult for him/her to concentrate on their school activities, which in turn, causes them to perform poorly in school. A behavioural optometrist will not only run the standard eye tests to check for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and other problems, but will also conduct various tests to see how the child uses his eyesight to focus, coordinate and understand his/her surroundings.
Behavioural Optometrists for Others
Though children, especially those with learning disabilities are the ones who usually consult a behavioural optometrist, it is not just limited to them. There are many behavioural optometrists who cater to teenagers as well as adults. Instead of just increasing the thickness of their glasses, applying behavioural optometry can help in reducing the progression of the eye condition by prescribing special lenses; both normal and contact.
Athletes can also improve their performance by consulting a behavioural optometrist. Apart from athletes, people who gamers or work for longer hours on their computers can improve their performance by wearing specialized lens designed and prescribed by the behavioural optometrists. Individuals are also provided training on eye movements, focus, and eye coordination.
Behavioural Optometry Goals
Below are some of the major goals of behavioral optometry:
- Prevent the development and deterioration of vision and other eye-related problems.
- Provide the right treatment for existing eye conditions such as shortsightedness, eye turn, and other conditions.
- Ensure that the visual abilities are developed and working well so that individuals do not face any problem in their classroom, while playing, using computers, at work, or any other activity.
In order to fulfill these goals, a behavioral optometrist will:
- Suggest the required eyeglasses prescription.
- Give advice on how to reduce the progression of the existing condition.
- Provide preventive measures which can stop the development of any eye condition.
- Suggest vision therapy which will help in better functioning of the vision and development of visual processing.
- Prescribe tinted lenses based on specific tests for conditions like concussion or migraine.
It is important to consult a behavioural optometrist in order to understand not just your eye condition but also to clearly understand your brain-eye connection and take the required steps to improve your vision.