What is behavioural optometry?
Behavioural optometry is a philosophy of eyecare that assesses not only eye health and clarity of sight, but also efficiency of vision and potential visual performance. We involve you as an active participant in the prevention of eye problems and the maintenance of maximum visual fitness.
What does a behavioural optometrist do?
Your behavioural optometrist will provide an in-depth examination of visual abilities. This will include a comprehensive eye health examination and an investigation of visual acuity or the ability to see small detail. In addition, your behavioural optometrist will examine focusing skills; eye teaming (the ability to use both eyes together) and eye movement control. The examination also evaluates the individual’s visual processing skill to develop spatial judgments and process visual information.
Who needs a behavioural optometrist?
Because the visual process is so pervasive in human behaviour, everybody can benefit from a behavioural approach to vision care. Many times this is not recognised until specific problems become acute. These may be problems associated with desk work or using computers for extended periods of time. Rehabilitation or problems resulting from traumatic brain injury may involve remediation of basic visual abilities.
Developmental difficulties and school performance problems may improve as a result of the improvement in visual skills provided by the unique insights and treatment of visual abilities provided by the behavioural optometrist. People with special needs such as those with physical, behavioural or intellectual handicaps often have visual problems and spatial awareness difficulties. An assessment by a behavioural optometrist may offer solutions that can improve performance and quality of life for these people. Sports people too can benefit from a more skillful use of their visual process.
How can behavioural optometry help?
Lenses in the form of glasses can be used:
- Compensatory Lenses: In this form spectacles are designed to enable people to see clearer. This type of spectacles will often be worn constantly.
- Performance Lenses: In this form spectacles are designed to reduce visual strain and mental fatigue. This type of spectacles will often be used only for specific purposes.
- Training Lenses: In this form spectacles are used to change the focusing eye teaming relationship. They are used while doing specific activities and area generally used for a limited period of time.
- Facilitatory Lenses: In this form spectacles are used to help re-organize spatial awareness. This may benefit by improving a person’s ability to move around unaided, be more accurate about spatial judgments when driving, or enable them to perform eye hand co-ordination tasks more accurately.
Vision therapy can also be used:
- To develop visual skills. In this instance a program of activities is set so that the rate of visual skill development can be enhanced.
- To re-establish visual function skills. In this instance a program of activities is set so that focus and eye teaming skills can re-learn to work in an efficient manner.
- To rehabilitate visual skills. In this instance a program of activities is set to retrain visual function that has been distorted by brain injury or illness.
- To enhance visual skills. In this instance a program of activities is set to raise the level of visual function to the highest level possible. This level of enhancement is required by some sports people.