The people are often confused as to how a Behavioural Optometrist differs from regular optometry. This failure to recognize the difference between the two can lead to children having less than adequate eye testing, especially with regards to learning difficulties. Therefore it is important for parents to understand the difference between a Behavioural Optometrist and other types of vision care professionals. Checkout Eyes of Texas for more info.
The Philosophy of the Behavioural Optometrist
The Behavioural Optometrist differs from standard practice in his basic philosophy. As a Behavioural Optometrist, I do not treat eyeballs but rather consider the entire person, including an examination not only of their eyes but also of the way that they take in, organize and use the visual information supplied by the eyes.
Most optometrists and eye care professionals treat standard eye conditions such as long site, short sight, astigmatism and eye disease. As a Behavioural Optometrist, I treat all of these conditions also but strive to go beyond this to look at how the individual is using the information obtained through the visual system in their everyday lives. This means that I go beyond just testing the refractive error of the eyes, trying rather to understand how a person uses their focus, eye coordination, eye movements and visual perception.
This change of philosophy is especially important when it comes to children with learning disabilities, because most children with learning problems can see both the board and their books well. In such cases it is clearly not a lack of seeing ability that is affecting their learning, but rather the inability to interpret, understand and manipulate the visual information that they have taken in through their eyes and visual system. The Behavioural Optometrist will not only prescribe the appropriate lenses, but will also often prescribe vision therapy to help the child develop true understanding of the subject matter and help them to develop the skills that they need to learn efficiently throughout their life.
The Creativity of the Behavioural Optometrist
One of the things I love about being a Behavioural Optometrist is that I am often called upon to do more than churn out the appropriate numbers required for spectacle prescriptions. Sure, I prescribe lenses just like a regular eye care professional, but I’ll often vary the power and design of these lenses depending on the specific tasks and needs of the patient. In short, I go beyond just reproducing the numbers I have measured, but rather spend time creatively thinking about the best lenses to suit the patient’s needs, whether they are truck drivers, computer users, students or homemakers.
I also have the opportunity to be creative with regards vision therapy, designing new and innovative therapies, exercises and games to help children with learning disabilities reach their full potential in the classroom. These have become very successful and we have seen amazing improvement among the children who have pursued these therapies, and vision therapy remains a central part of my practice which is both creative and radically different from my peers.