Not all eye doctors are the same. A Behavioral Optometrist can help you get the treatment you need. 

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What is a behavioral optometrist?

A behavioral optometrist, like a regular optometrist, can prescribe glasses and contacts. But a behavioral optometrist is different in two very important ways:

  1. After a complete examination, a behavioral optometrist should be more agreeable to giving you an undercorrected prescription (a weaker pair of glasses or contacts that allows your eyes to benefit from a program of vision improvement).
  2. You’ll get the most comprehensive and complete exam you’ve probably ever had. Not only will the sharpness of your vision be tested, but so will all your other critical visual skills:
  • Measure distance vision with an eye chart.
  • Determine how your eyes function at close range.
  • Measure the teamwork between your eyes and your brain.
  • See how smoothly your eyes move from point to point.
  • See how smoothly and easily your eyes follow a moving target.
  • See how easily each eye can shift focus from near to far.
  • Screen for medical conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

A behavioral optometrist believes that all visual skills - including how clearly you can see - can be enhanced through exercise, relaxation and training. In addition, a behavioral optometrist may also provide their own vision therapy. Many behavioral optometrists support the work of the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision.

It’s very important that you get a complete and thorough examination from a doctor who understands the interconnectedness of all aspects of vision. Professional organizations for behavioral optometrists include:

We recommend that you see a behavioral optometrist, an eye doctor with special training and experience in vision therapy, not just vision correction.

Why see a behavioral optometrist?

Picture an eye exam and what do you think of? A chart on the wall on the other side of the room and you in a chair, trying to read the tiny letters on the bottom line, first with one eye then with the other. If you can read the bottom line, your vision is perfect. If you can’t, you need glasses. Right? Not necessarily!

Good vision is much more than just 20/20.

Even if you test at 20/20 (with or without correction), you could still have other visual problems that would be missed during a simple eye test. When these deficiencies get missed, they could eventually lead to problems with acuity. So a person could end up needing glasses (or stronger glasses) when the real causes of the problem aren’t addressed. Problems in these other areas might cause some of the following symptoms: double vision, headaches, tiredness, poor depth perception, difficulty concentrating while reading, eye strain, burning, stinging, dry eyes and more.

Balanced visual functioning requires that the eyes move easily from point to point and work together as a team, that the brain can effectively use peripheral vision and that the brain can easily process visual information. Using glasses that were prescribed after only a simple eye test for distance or near-point acuity could very likely lead to further visual stress. If there are other unaddressed visual problems, this could even lead to prescriptions that get stronger and stronger and a general feeling of discomfort and fatigue. All of which could set the stage for even more serious eye problems to develop.

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