What is Behavioural Optometry?
Behavioural Optometry is an expanded area of optometric practice. A behavioural optometrist has a holistic approach in the treatment of vision and vision information processing problems. A behavioural optometrist believes that your visual status and the way that you interpret what you see does not depend solely on how clear your eyesight is. Consideration must be given to all your visual, visual motor and visual perceptual skills. In this way your behavioural optometrist will not only consider the remediation of any eyesight difficulties but also the benefits of prevention, protection and enhancement of your visual system in order to improve all aspects of your visual performance.
ii) Goals of Behavioural Optometric Care TOP^
1.To develop and enhance the visual skills needed to achieve more effective visual performance at work and play (classroom, sports, work place).
2.To provide remediation or compensation for vision or eye problems that have already developed (eg. eye turn, shortsightedness etc).
3.To prevent vision problems and eye problems from developing.
To achieve these goals your Behavioural Optometrist may recommend the use of the following tools:
1.Advice on visual hygiene techniques to prevent or reduce the possibility of eye problems developing.
2.Appropriate and judicial care of spectacle lenses and prisms.
3.Vision Therapy to enhance and develop visual skills that are poorly or inadequately developed.
4.Other optical aids such as occlusive techniques and the use of tints/colour.
iii) About the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists TOP^
The Australasian College of Behavioural Optometry (ACBO) was founded in 1987, and provides Australian, New Zealand and Asian optometrists with the opportunity for education and training in the fields of developmental and functional optometry and their application in areas such as learning difficulties, traumatic brain injury, sports vision and binocular vision dysfunction.
iv) Levels of Membership of ACBO TOP^
A member of ACBO has completed the four or five years of undergraduate study to achieve a Bachelor of Optometry degree. Additional study must to be undertaken in the form of 20 hours continuing education per year in the field of Behavioural Optometry to maintain accreditation.
Fellows of ACBO must pass a rigorous assessment program to achieve Fellowship to the College. The evaluation process includes comprehensive written, oral and clinical examinations and the writing of a literature review. Fellows must also undertake 30 hours of additional continuing education each year to maintain their Fellowship accreditation, and must regularly submit papers for publication.
Presently aspects of Behavioural Optometry are taught at most Australian universities as part of the undergraduate optometry courses. The University of New South Wales also offers a Behavioural Optometry Course (as a unit of the Master's program). This unit comprises 110 hours of education, and was established in conjunction with ACBO and designed to provide participants with an introduction to the many different aspects of Behavioural optometry. The content provides a neuroscience background together with clinical insights that allow the development of a behavioural model of optometric practice. This course is a prerequisite for Fellowship application to the College.
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