What conditions can Behavioural Optometry help with?

Although Behavioural Optometry will not treat conditions such as dyslexia or autism spectrum disorder, people with these difficulties are significantly more likely to have co-existing deficits with their visual system. if these co-occurring visual difficulties are present they can easily be identified by our Paediatric Optometrist Rakhi Pabari who will work with you using a bottom up, personalised approach to improve visual skills and make many conditions more manageable. 

What age group is this for?

With almost twenty years of experience working as an optometrist working within the NHS and private practice, as well as being an accredited behavioural optometrist, Rakhi is also a Certified Paediatric Optometrist. Therefore, she able to use a combination of techniques to accommodate individuals of any age and capability (including non-verbal individuals). If you have concerns please contact us for more information.

Signs and Symptoms

It may be difficult to know whether behavioural optometry is right for you or your child. Below is a list of common symptoms or visual complaints from those who could benefit from seeing a behavioural optometrist:

  • Not meeting/delayed milestones
  • Shows poor concentration and is easily distracted
  • Fidgets continuously
  • Poor comprehension of reading content
  • Rubs eyes or blinks excessively whilst reading or writing
  • Head turns when reading across the page or uses an unusual posture
  • Moves book around the desk whilst reading or writing, or moves it closer or further away
  • Loses place frequently and needs to use a finger or marker to help
  • Short attention span whilst reading or copying
  • Writes upwards or downwards and cannot stay on ruled lines
  • Orientates drawings poorly
  • Complains that the text is moving, blurring or that the text is changing size
  • Complains of patterns in the print, described like worms or rivers
  • Tiring easily whilst reading or writing
  • Headaches, red, sore watery eyes or visual discomfort 
  • Uses poor spacing while writing and may use hand as a spacer
  • Skips or rereads lines unknowingly
  • Repeats letters within words or completely omits numbers, letters or phrases
  • Omits numbers, letters or phrases during copying 
  • Misaligns numbers both vertically and horizontally
  • Closes or covers one eye, or squints
  • Extreme lack of orientation
  • Poor coordination and seems as though the eye is not guiding the hands
  • Cannot focus on moving objects, such as a ball being thrown
  • Difficulty in spotting differences and confusing words which have the same beginning or ending
  • Whispers to self for reinforcement whilst reading silently
  • Reading or writing deteriorates as time goes on, such as during lessons
  • Reads or write very slowly with a considerable amount of effort
  • Easily frustrated when asked to complete reading or writing tasks.

What is Visual Stress?

Research has shown that approximately over 20% of the global population suffers from discomfort when looking at certain regular patterns (including rows of text). In severe cases this can lead to photo-sensitive epilepsy, in other cases migraine, and in others just varying degrees of discomfort. This phenomenon was first recognised by a teacher in New Zealand (Olive Meares) and a pychologist in the US (Helen Irlen) so the condition became known a Irlen syndrome or Meares-Irlen syndrome. However, the more general term of “Visual Stress” is now preferred. Symptoms can typically include “words appearing to move, wobble or flicker”, “shadows or colours in the text” or just general “eye strain”.  This may result in a reduction in reading speed, reduced fluency or just an aversion to reading. Please contact us if you or anyone you know is suffering with these symptoms.

Is Behavioural Optometry available on the NHS?

Unfortunately it is not, therefore you will have to pay for an assessment and any subsequent appointments.

Some private health insurances are becoming more familiar with Behavioural Optometry and Vision Therapy and may cover certain aspects.