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Behavioural Optometry

See easier, Learn easier.

A Behavioural Optometrist specialises in understanding vision and visual development in all kids. Behavioural optometrists also work with children who have learning difficulties, dyslexia, developmental delays, ADD, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Both our optometrists Albert and Priscilla, love working with children and have extensive experience examining children.

Vision is very improtant for learning. We often hear about 'School Readiness' in terms of maturity and readiness to be able to learn. BUT... school readiness also involves vision. How much can you learn without vision? Close your eyes for 10 minutes at school or work and see how hard it is to learn.

To link vision to learning, we assess things like, whether each eye is on fully... Is the brain using them as a team or does one side phase in and out causing fatigue and fuzziness. How do you feel when the TV monitor goes fuzzy.....does it make you feel uncomfortable? It's not very easy to learn when the distraction of fuzzy vision and eyestrain sets in! Vision is not just sight, which is the ability to read on a letter chart. It is also how we understand or process what we see. Visual processing is the brains ability to understand or comprehend what we are looking at.

Building our visual processing ability is like building a house. We need good solid developmental foundations. When these foundations are laid properly a child can then focus on using reading to learn........Not just spending all of the time learning to read. If it becomes difficult learning how to read, they can get frustrated and not enjoy learning. Picture little Jonhnny in Grade 2. He is skipping and missing words. He is unsure if a "b" is a "d" and has to really think what that word could possibly be. He finally gets the word, but some of the others in the class have already read two sentences. Some of the others have already started to create a "mental movie" in their heads of the story, which is called visualization. These others are then able to answer comprehension questions better because they can "see" what is happening in their mind, rather than just saying a few random letters or words.

If vision is not working properly, the child can not develop visual processing properly. Sometimes it's as simple as giving them a pair of glasses to help them see better, focus better, team thier eyes better and learning just gets better. If there are any concerns with learning......get VISION checked by a behavioural optometrist. It will be well worth your time. Seeing easier, means learning easier. It is such an easy thing to rule out! Let them see the world better.... Call us or book an appointment online.

More info about VISION

To make “sense” of what we see, we first need to get the eyeballs pointing in the right place, so the visual image can get to the brain efficiently from each eye. Our brain sends signals to move our eyes to sample information, so that we can “upload” information in an efficient manner. Moving our eyes is no simple feat. This next bit gets very complicated, the idea is not to understand it, but just to take in how much of the brain is involved and is connected to make eye movements.

Behavioural Optometry - Brain

To make an eye movement to the right for example, the frontal eye field in the brain generates the command signals that initiates the eye movement. The signal is sent to the superior colliculus and caudate nucleus. The superior colliculus then sends control signals to the gaze centers in the midbrain and pons reticular formation. The posterior parietal cortex, determines whether the visual target has been achieved and sends corrective signals to the frontal eye field and superior colliculus if the visual target is not in view. The basal ganglion structures, the caudate and substantia nigra, help regulate the action of the superior colliculus.

As you can see in this diagram, moving the eyes is an extremely complicated task. It is not localized to one part of the brain. It involves many parts of the brain and is linked with other senses. For example, gaze stabilization or stabilizing the eyes when the head moves to keep the image on the fovea (the part of the back of the eyes for central vision). This gaze stabilization is initiated by the vestibular (balance) system and is called the Vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). The VOR is a crucial part of maintaining balance and clear vision, controlling eye positions so that when the head moves, gaze remains stable.

Imagine the eyeballs sitting in head inside the sockets of our skull. Please look at the diagram of the skull.

Behavioural Optometry - Skull

Each eyeball has 6 tiny muscles that co-ordinate together to move the eyes. To keep the two eyes looking at the same place, means that both sets of muscles need to line up the eyes in a very precise way. The reason we need the eyes to look at the same place at the same time is so the brain does not get confusing images. If the two eyes aren't pointing at the same place, the brain either experiences double vision or it shuts out the vision from one eye (suppression). You may not even realise if your brain is suppressing the image from one eye when it occurs. Just like you don't realize you have a 'blind spot' in your eyes.

Now imagine your eyes as two tiny ball shaped video cameras placed in skull, suspended by 6 strings on each camera. Can you imagine the practice needed to control these things and link them with body movements in a precise and comfortable way? Could you also imagine the anarchy of the show, if we put the skull on a wobbly base? The difficulty in trying to co-ordinate these suspended cameras with each other and the wobble? This is how hard it can be for some adults and children to process what they see. This is especially what happens when vision, movement and balance systems of the brain haven’t integrated properly.

The end result of Vision, relies on the quality of information coming in. If the quality of information coming in is poor, then it is very hard to make sense of what we see.