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Thread: behavioural optometrist

  1. #1

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    Question behavioural optometrist

    Hi all;

    Just wondering if anyone has used a behavioural optometrist before? Actually even if you have heard of one before?

    Miss M has a turned eye, and for the last 6 months we have being seeing an opthamologist, who has put her on the waiting list for surgery. Thankfully its a 18month to 2 yr waiting list, so we have decided to try everything possible in the hope that surgery isn't required.
    We found the website for the guy who is pretty much responsible for bringing this sort of practice to Australia. His prices are rather high, and thanks to DH's work payout we can afford it.

    So has anyone heard of one? Used one? and was it a success?

    Cheers



    Justine

  2. #2

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    I havnt heard of one before but just wanted to say good luck

  3. #3

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    Hi Justine,

    My 10 year old sees a behavioural optometrist. She was seeing a normal one and didn't know there was such a thing till her school asked me to get her to see one. The normal guy said she was slightly short sited but nothing to worry about. Took her to the behavioural one and she said she is surprised she can see at all her eyes are so stressed and has trouble focousing from long to short and visa a versa. She didn't cost any extra than a normal optometrist, but has made the world of difference for my daughter and her school work etc.

    Hope this has helped you.

  4. #4

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    My parents went through similar things with me...my eye was so far turned you couldn't see it almost from day 1.
    As an infant I had several operations on my eyes, and nothing worked, simply change the direction of the turn lol. I was in glasses from 11 months. My glasses have a directional focal point in the left lense, meaning my eye is actually drawn to it, however, there has been nothing over the years that has managed to permanently bring it in line without constant effort.

    There are exercises you can do and practice not looking through one eye (which you won't notice, but will become normal for bubs) but at this age that would be very very difficult to achieve.
    Basically a strengthening of the muscles around the eye is needed, so patches etc can be helpful, but as I said, without constant attention and practice, the eye will turn on its own.
    It is incredibly tiring to try and keep it straight, which required physically holding it place and trying to look through 2 eyes at once (which is how 'normal' people see) often results in double vision as we don't get the cross over vision that is normal, it is one eye or the other.

    Anyway, I would go and have a chat to this guy and see what his methods are, but I would be VERY hesitant of handing off fists full of cash for repeat visits to use methods that will most likely need constant consistent application that in the end (or importantly with time) will not achieve permanent straightening at such a young age.

    How badly is the eye turned? You may find that you can have the opthamologist instruct DD when she is about 5 + how to do the exercises and practices she needs to keep the eye as straight as possible and the muscles as active as possible (this for me has been the biggest challenge, as this lack of muscle use will lead to her yes being different shapes )

    HTH

  5. #5

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    Thank you so much;

    Limeslice, thank you. She has been seeing an opthamologist for around 6 months now. We patch her eye every day for at least 90mins, but I try for as long as I can and will normally get at least 2.5hrs before she starts to complain. Her dr is a nice guy, he's good at what he does, and he's been doing it for years and years. Before we started seeing him her eye was pretty bad, maybe you could see around a third of her eye. Since then we have had a huge turn around, now we can see the eye most of the time and at worst you can see two thirds. So we are making progress.

    Sweetpea, thank you. The cost initially turned me off, this guy. I've kind of rationalised it with he is based in inner sydney, from all the research we have done he supposedly the best. And considering we'll be paying for it with part of our tax refund, its worth it. But that being said if the follow up appointments are pricey, we will ask to be referred to someone else.

    Thank you for both of your experiences, it really helps when we are talking about what direction to take!

  6. #6

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    Is there any way you can get her operation done any sooner? Can you possibly afford the surgery privately? I say this because she will be five by the time she has it done - is that correct? And, speaking from experience, if the turn has been very bad, I don't mean to alarm you, but she may not recover accurate vision in that eye and the surgery may well be purely cosmetic. I had the same thing happen to me when I was little, because my mother never picked up on the turn, and while my eyes are perfectly straight, I am legally blind in the eye that was turned. The brain turns off the messages from that optic nerve because it is just too confused to get the garbled message from two out-of-alignment eyes, and the longer that happens for, the harder it is to "switch it on" again, so to speak.

    Good luck.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by beansbeans! View Post
    Thank you so much;

    Sweetpea, thank you. The cost initially turned me off, this guy. I've kind of rationalised it with he is based in inner sydney, from all the research we have done he supposedly the best. And considering we'll be paying for it with part of our tax refund, its worth it. But that being said if the follow up appointments are pricey, we will ask to be referred to someone else.

    Thank you for both of your experiences, it really helps when we are talking about what direction to take!
    Personally, having read that, I'd be tempted to put the money towards paying for the surgery sooner rather than later, and forgetting the behavioural optometrist.

  8. #8

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    My dd has a turned eye and wears glasses. I do excercises with her that improve her vestibular and proprioceptive senses, there has been success with fixing the turned eye with no surgery.

  9. #9

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    Is this Doctor on Sydney's North Shore at all?

    My litle bro ended up having surgery for this same thing and it corrected it. He wore glasses for a year before surgery and had patch exercises every day as well but he needed the surgery. Now he is glasses free and his eyesight is amazing.

  10. #10

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    Behavioural optometrists look at the way the brain processes information and how we learn as well as correcting the turn. I have worked for a few optometrists and a few behavioural optometrists and often the surgery is something that will be done regardless. IMO I would up the patching hrs and continue with the opthalmogist and maybe see a pediatric opthalmogist if the one you are not seeing one now.

  11. #11

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    I just wanted to explain a little more because I posted quickly then ran out the door.

    As Minky says it can be about the way the brain processes information. I do these excercises with both my kids because DS has Sensory Processesing Disorder, and it helps the brain to sort the info properly. It's great for all kids in any case (helps AMAZINGLY with things like eye tracking) and it's also great for DD and her turned eye.

    The lady that taught me has seen heaps of these eyes fix themselves. It's fun too, a bit of rolling around on the floor and on a fit ball. We do it for 15 mins per day.

  12. #12

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    Justine,

    I am a behavioural optometrist and I will try and give you a balanced view on this.
    Firstly, as I have not examined your child, everything I will say here is of a general nature and not specific advice for your child.
    Ophthalmologists and behavioural optometrists have different philosophies on vision and treatment of visual dysfunctions. Ignoring causes due to diseases, we consider eye turns to be an adaptation to a visual problem. So the best treatment is to address the initial problem, rather than treat the symptom (the eye turn). What you have to be aware of is that surgery does not usually allow the eyes to work together, but often gives only a cosmetic cure. And as the original problem that caused the eye turn has not been addressed, then the eye turn often returns. It is not uncommon for a child to need multiple eye surgeries over time. Most ophthalmologists I know will tell parents this - I would ask your ophthalmologist about this if you haven't already.

    Obviously my advice would be to see the behavioural optometrist, but as that may seem biased I will instead point you to some resources to allow you to make your own decision.

    Please find this book and read it - you may have to order in from Amazon in the US:
    Fixing My Gaze by Susan R. Barry, Oliver Sacks
    There is a website about the book. It is written by a neuro-scientist who had eye surgery when young for an eye turn, and then had vision therapy when in her 40's. She had cosmetically straight eyes after her surgery, but did not have functional eye allignent (using both eyes together with binocular vision) until going through vision therapy. If nothing else, please read this book before doing anything else.

    ACBO - The Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists - this is the website of the Australasian College of Behavoural Optometrists. You will find a lot of useful information here.

    College of Optometrists in Vision Development - this is the US version of ACBO.

    What is vision therapy? faqs, links, references, learning disabilities, LDs, scientific studies, vision training, visual therapy, visual training, orthoptics, eye exercises

    Feel free to ask any questions.

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul Brand; August 17th, 2010 at 06:44 AM. Reason: grammar

  13. #13

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    Thank you everyone!

    Sorry it toook a bit to reply but had a bit of a technology break.

    Our appt was last friday, and it seemed to go well. Mss M walked out with a new pair of glasses, which Im glad about because I was sure she needed them. He was so nice and helpful, actually he is setting us up with another opthamologist to see rather than the one we are seeing.
    We now have regular appts with a vision therapist, which I am yet to organise!
    And so far Miss M seems rather happy about it all.

    Thank you Paul, I have tracked that book down, just have to grab it from my local bookshop next time I go in.
    And if you dont mind I will track you down to ask questions in the future!

    Thank you

  14. #14

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    Glad to hear it's gone well. I don't think I have enough posts here to access my private messages, but if you go to the ACBO site and use the "Find an optometrist" and put my name in, you will find my contact details and email address.

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