Neuro-developmental (Behavioural) Optometry
An optometrist practising behavioural optometry will look at not only how clear you see in an eye test but also how well your eyes work together. They will use methods to prevent eye problems and ensure visual fitness for the things you are doing everyday whether it is using a computer at work, playing golf or studying for that exam.
Neuro-developmental optometry encompasses:
- Binocular vision problems from general dysfunction to strabismus (eye turn), and amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Visual perception and learning difficulties
- Sports vision
- Neuro-optometric rehabilitation (such as stroke victims)
- Special populations (such Down’s Syndrome and Autism)
The Myth of the Perfect 20/20 Vision
You have no doubt have heard of the term ’20/20′ vision. Here in Australia given that we use metres rather than feet, it is known as ‘6/6’. 6/6 is a visual acuity measurement of how clearly you see in the distance. Visual acuity means sharpness of vision. So what this means is if you see 6/6, it means that you are able to see clearly at 6 metres what should normally be seen clearly at 6 metres. On the other hand, if you have 6/12 vision, it means that you need to stand as close as 6 metres to see what a person with normal vision can see clearly at 12 metres.
However, 6/6 does not mean that your vision is perfect! There is more to having good vision than just seeing 6/6 in the distance. Normal vision encompasses many things including:
- Eye focusing
- Eye coordination
- Eye teaming (binocular vision)
- Eye movement
- Visual perceptual skills
- Colour vision
It is these skills, which differentiates people and explains why some are good at sports and others at reading.
Treatment for visual dysfunctions includes prescribing lenses and/or vision therapy.
These may be:
- Compensatory lenses, which restore clear sight and are used for those who are short sighted, long sighted or have astigmatism.
- Support lenses are generally used to help balance the focusing and pointing systems of the eyes.
- Training lenses are used to train and help the eyes to learn to function more efficiently.
- Yoked prism lenses are used to alter perception of space. These can be used to enhance attention and/or to enhance awareness of peripheral visual information.
These may be:
Optometric Vision Therapy is a program of activities much like exercises to train your eyes to work together and thus reduce fatigue. Vision therapy is also used in learning difficulty cases to help the person extract more information, more quickly, with less effort, from less cues and allows them to process it all and then have a given output whether it happens to writing, speaking or problem solving.
Sports vision is an area of optometric care where visual skills are enhanced to give an athlete a competitive edge. Physical fitness for the eye is a concept that extends far beyond the traditional concepts of correcting eye defects through contact lenses or spectacles.
Professional athletes have found that they not only have superior body speed and coordination, but that they also have optimised visual skills. These skills include eye coordination, speed of focus and depth perception and they can be taught.
80% of all information processed by the brain when playing sport is processed through the visual system. Studies had shown that improved visual processing capability could engage an athlete’s judgment and hence improve reaction times.
Specialised Sports Optical Products
There are many options for optical correction for sports. These include contact lenses, sports goggles, swimming goggles and target sports eyewear such as that used for shooting and archery. Hannaford Eyewear specialises in eyewear for target shooting sports and carries the brand Knobloch that offers versatility and the highest quality in sports eyewear.