Behavioral Optometry

Our modern life is increasingly putting demands on our bodies that our systems are struggling to keep up with. One of the best examples of this is our vision—the pervasive use of computers and the rising number of hours we spend in front of the television each week means that we're using our eyesight more for sustained concentration at very close range and far less than we do for distance. The gold standard of visual acuity is "20/20 vision", which is the measurement of our visual perception based on performance at a distance of 20 feet—much further away than you sit from your computer hour after hour and probably more than the space between your couch and the TV.

Behavioral optometry is a vision care specialty that holistically treats vision problems resulting from the stress of sustained, close-range, visual tasks through ocular training and special lenses. Still considered an alternative therapy option and practiced by a minority of optometrists throughout the world, behavioral optometry is a growing specialty because of its success in the treatment of migraines, depression, and panic attacks. It's also becoming a treatment option for children with disabilities such as ADD and even autism. Behavioral optometrists acknowledge that the field is not a replacement for the typical care provided by ophthalmologists and optometrists—and practitioners must already have a degree in optometry before beginning the coursework for behavioral optometry—but it does provide an alternative when other routes have proven ineffective.

Check out the Optometric Extension Program Foundation or COVD websites to learn more.