Behavioural Optometry

What is Behavioural Optometry?


Behavioural Optometry is an extended area of practice, where the Optometrist takes a universal approach.This means they do not consider the eyes and eyesight to act in isolation, but as part of a broader system.

A Behavioural Optometrist believes your interpretation of what you see is not solely related to how clear you vision is. We also consider visual comfort – this is to say, how comfortably your visual system can process the information it receives. As an example, a person may have very clear vision, but poor comfort – where they experience visual stress when concentrating on their study material for a long period of time.

Near Point Stress (NPS) describes a core concept within Behavioural Optometry. This describes the ‘stress’ your visual system experiences when carrying out close tasks, such as reading. Behavioural Optometrists believe NPS likely has a key role in the development of many visual disorders, such as myopia, astigmatism and strabismus. In this way a Behavioural Optometrist will not only consider correcting vision difficulties, but also considers the benefits of prevention, protection and the development of your visual system. In turn we aim to improve all aspects of your vision the way your visual system performs.

Goals of Behavioural Optometric Care:

 Every patient has a unique set of visual demands, and set of goals. We personalise each behavioural examination based on your own visual needs. Some of the more common goals are listed below.

  • To develop skills required to give effective visual performance at work and socially (school, sports & work environment)
  • To provide treatment or strategies for vision problems(E.g. turned eyes, myopia)
  • To prevent visual problems from developing initially

What might a Behavioural Optometrist recommend?

  • Certain techniques, termed visual hygiene techniques, that may prevent visual problems from developing or prevent them from worsening.
  • The use of spectacle lenses or prismatic lenses in a way that promotes efficient visual development.
  • Vision Therapy to enhance visual skills that are lacking, or which haven’t developed in the correct manner.
  • Optical aids including techniques such as occlusion or specialised tinted lenses.

For more information or any questions on Behavioural Optometry, you can contact our Behavioural Optometrist John Mellsop.