What is Neuro-Optometry?
Neuro-optometry is a specialty field of vision care that combines neurology and optometry to assess how the brain processes information sent from the eyes. When communication between your brain and eyes is disrupted due to injury or disease, vision problems usually occur. Neuro-optometric services are provided to individuals who have vision related problems associated with neurological disease, trauma, metabolic or congenital conditions. When the visual system is disturbed neurologically, it can adversely affect activities of daily living for both children and adults.
Neuro-developmental optometry focuses on acquired strabismus, amblyopia, diplopia, binocular dysfunction, convergence insufficiency or excess, accommodative dysfunction, oculomotor dysfunction, visual-spatial dysfunction, visual perceptual and cognitive deficits, traumatic visual acuity loss, posture, spatial awareness, visual memory, and motor output which all affect the quality of life.
What is Developmental Optometry?
Formally introduced in 1971 with the formation of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), developmental optometry is a specialized field that is concerned with how your eyes and visual system function and is interested in how your vision influences your behavior. It is focused on enhancing visual performance with the use of lenses, prisms, and/or vision therapy. Visual skills are evaluated to ensure the success of their patients in school, work, and everyday life.
How is a Neuro-Developmental Optometrist different from an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician?
Neuro-Developmental Optometrist: Specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and developmental conditions adversely affecting the visual system. Neuro-Optometric Therapy is a process for the rehabilitation of visual, perceptual, and motor disorders.
Neuro-Ophthalmologists: Specialize in visual problems that affect the nervous system. This includes loss of sight due to injury to the brain or the optic nerves which transmits visual signals from the eyes to the brain. Such injury can be caused by trauma, inflammation, strokes, tumors, toxicities and infections.
Ophthalmologist (M.D.): Have attended medical school and are physicians who have completed a residency and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye. They can offer the same medical services as an optometrist, including prescribing and fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. However, ophthalmologists can also diagnose and treat all eye conditions, perform eye surgeries and conduct scientific research into the causes and cures for eye conditions and vision problems.
Optometrists (O.D.): Doctor of Optometry who has attended a minimum of seven years of college and professional graduate education on the study of the eye. They are your primary care eye doctor and perform eye examinations, conduct vision tests, are licensed to prescribe and dispense corrective lenses, detect certain eye irregularities and prescribe some ocular therapeutic medications. They do not perform ocular surgery.
Opticians: Technicians who are trained to design and fit visual aids such as lenses and frames and contact lenses. The opticians attend technical school and use prescriptions from an optometrist or ophthalmologist to verify and fit the required visual aids. They do not have the necessary training to diagnose eyesight problems, and they cannot treat eye conditions.
I have had an eye exam before, why was this never mentioned?
Routine eye exams are often focused on overall eye health and eyesight but do not test all aspects of visual performance. General eye exams help to rule out nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. If the basic eye exam suggests no corrective eyewear is needed, often the exam will end there even if a vision problem may still exist.
A more comprehensive exam conducted by an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy may be required.
Who can benefit from vision therapy?
Success in vision therapy can be achieved at any age! Children are in critical years of development and as such, results can be achieved more quickly and in greater degrees. However, adults can experience relief and benefit through therapy with perseverance and motivation.
In the 21st century, there are high demands for eyes. Many adults and children constantly use their near vision at work, school, and home. Environmental stresses can also induce blurred vision, eye strain, headaches and more all from stress-related visual problems.
Vision therapy is beneficial for anyone who wishes to improve their visual skills and visual processing abilities.