About Behavioural Optometry
Behavioural Optometry is a specialist area of eyecare which studies the impact of vision on human performance, in particular how subtle problems with focussing, convergence and eye movements affect reading, learning and concentration.
Behavioural Optometrists believe that vision is largely learned and therefore trainable. An eye that hasn't had the chance to receive a clear image, for example, doesn't learn to see clearly hence the origin of amblyopia or a lazy eye.
More simply, Behavioural Optometry could be called 'Common Sense' Optometry as it considers in a logical way how visual problems could be impacting on a youngster's learning. Poorly controlled eye movements, for example, may lead to frequent losses of place and lack of fluency in reading. Poor convergence is known to cause difficulties with concentration, as it requires less effort to look up and out of a window than to force one's eyes to work together close up. And weak focus skills may make print blurred and cause errors when looking from far to near and back when copying from the board in a classroom.
So, in a nutshell, 20/20 vision in the distance doesn't necessarily indicate perfect vision for reading. If a child, young person or indeed adult is underachieving academically compared to their verbal ability then they should be checked by a Behavioural Optometrist to ensure that visual skills are brought to an optimum level for learning via the use of appropriate lenses and vision therapy exercises.