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What is a Behavioural Optometrist?

While most of us have experience with a regular optometrist, a behavioural optometrist can seem like a total unknown. In this blog, we break down what they do and what to expect if your child is referred to one.


What is a behavioural optometrist?

A behavioural optometrist is a specialised eye-doctor who looks at the relationship between vision and behaviour. They take into account more than typical “20/20” vision, and explore how your daily life activities are impacted by your visual skills and visual processing.


What might an assessment with a behavioural optometrist look like?

An assessment with a behavioural optometrist involves a bit more than your regular eye check up. It is likely to include:

  1. A discussion about any relevant personal history that has led to this assessment.
  2. Examination of the structure and health of your eyes.
  3. A series of tests to assess your performance in a range of visual skills.
  4. After the assessment, you may receive a report with the results and recommendations.


What skills does a behavioural optometrist look at?

  • Eye Movement
  • Eye Teaming: The ability of the two eyes to work together as a team to create a single image.
  • Accommodation: The ability of the eyes to focus and adjust to different distances.
  • Binocular Fusion: The ability to combine the images from each eye into a single, three-dimensional image, which is important for depth perception and 3D vision.
  • Visual Perception: The ability to interpret and make sense of visual information.
  • Visual-Motor Integration: The ability to coordinate eye and hand movements.
  • Visual Attention and Processing: The ability to attend to visual stimuli, filter out distractions, and process visual information.


Who do they work with?

Behavioural optometrists may collaborate with other professionals to provide comprehensive care – this could include occupational therapists, psychologists, speech pathologists and school educators.


What might the outcomes be?

  • Glasses prescription (with recommendations of what activities they are needed for)
  • Vision therapy – therapy to develop certain visual abilities (may include sessions or at home exercises)
  • Referral to other services/professionals e.g. an occupational therapist for an evaluation of motor function
  • Recommendations of environmental modifications (e.g. lighting changes, distances for reading)

Behavioural optometrists can be a meaningful part of the health professional team for your child. We hope this blog helps their role seem a little clearer.


SIENNA SMILEY (Occupational Therapist).

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