top of page

Goals of Behavioural Optometry



Defining Behavioural Optometry involves understanding VISION and how it is different from EYESIGHT. Traditional optometry is more involved with eyesight whereas Behavioural Optometry is more interested in vision.  All patients will benefit from the more holistic approach that behavioural optometry offers, but it is especially suited to those with eye motor control problems, lazy eyes, developmental delays, neurological damage or learning delays. Although the majority of Behavioural Optometrists' patients are children, Behavioural Optometry may be suitable for patients of any age if their condition is likely to respond to this treatment, such as elite athletes and other areas of sports vision.

What is Behavioural Optometry

David works as a behavioural optometrist in Canberra, having completed a Masters degree in this area. His passion is to work with both children and adults to address more complex vision difficulties that can be treated through behavioural optometry measures

Eyesight Vs Vision

Eyesight essentially refers to the physical attributes and performance of the numerous components involved in the visual system. This being the case, there is a high emphasis on structure, pathology and measurements of the function of these components. Have you heard the term ‘20/20 vision’ being quoted? 20/20 vision is a commonly quoted measure of normal vision, simply describing the sensitivity of the eye to see fine detail in the distance. While this is an important measurement, having 20/20 vision does not guarantee that a person can read.  Reading requires good VISION.

Vision is learned, so understanding the normal developmental pathways of an infant, through to children and adults is extremely important in Behavioural Optometry.  A child with limited environmental experiences is more likely to show abnormal development of vision. In the same way, a child with deficiencies in the physical structures that provide initial sensory information, is also more likely to show abnormal development of vision.

A child with a vision problem may experience a learning delay that is not necessarily related to intelligence. Intervening to provide the stimulation required to encourage more normal development of vision is one of the goals of Behavioural Optometry. Many adults who once had normal vision may experience poor vision after sustaining head injuries, strokes, car accidents and neurological disease (such as Multiple Sclerosis) as brain function is often impacted.  Behavioural Optometry aims to understand the role of brain function in vision, and in turn, provide opportunities to help these people.

Treating vision is the goal of Behavioural Optometry.  Behavioural Optometrists like David use a wide variety of tools and modalities to achieve their goals.  Some of these include:

  • Lenses (single vision, bifocals, multifocals, tints, prisms and occlusive) to modify the sensory input from 'eyesight'

  • Gross motor activities to assist with integration of body knowledge with other senses, especially 'eyesight'

  • Specific and individualised eye exercises to encourage an awareness of how information enters the visual system and control of the ocular motor system

David has developed many successful programs over the years to address vision difficulties. His main area of interest within behavioural optometry is children's vision and he sees children with a wide variety of visual abnormalities and difficulties. Click HERE to get in contact with David and see the difference ANU Eyecare can make for you or your child's vision

In most instances, vision uses eyesight as its foundation.  So, understanding all aspects of traditional optometry is extremely important to a Behavioural Optometrist.  Unlike eyesight, which is mainly related to the performance of the components in the visual pathway, vision is a thought process. Vision combines information from many sensory systems to create a perception of reality. Vision uses information from all the senses, including hearing, smell, touch and even the taste sense, which is then combined with the information provided via eyesight. The inputs are combined, linked to memory, and an image of the world or object is created.  

bottom of page