Behavioral Optometry Image

Behavioral Optometry – Behavioral Optometrist

Never heard of behavioral optometry? Well, many people haven’t, although as part of the Rebuild Your Vision family, you are already contributing to this burgeoning field.

This growing subspecialty of optometry uses vision therapy – performed in the doctor’s office and at home – to go beyond the usual concerns of vision care and treat “reading problems, learning problems, spelling problems, attention problems, hyperactivity, and coordination problems,” according to, a behavioral optometry website.

It can also treat a child who experiences “trouble in sports,” who “frustrates easily,” displays “poor motivation,” and “does not work well on his/her own.”

Behavioral Optometry ImageHow is this possible?

Behavioral optometrists believe that these kinds of behaviors, as well as poor performance during visual tasks, are a sign of nonoptimal visual skills. According to Dr. Stanley Appelbaum, author of Eye Power: A Cutting-edge Report on Vision Therapy, this unique approach to understanding the role of the eyes in thinking and learning involves “how eyes work together and move together and process information and store information and do something with the information.”

Therefore, so-called behavioral problems can be tackled from the standpoint of getting the eyes and brain to work together better.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a good example. As a child, he did not do well in school and was a poor athlete. But his grandfather began to use vision drills, such as asking his grandson to balance on a board while trying to track a dot, or walk on a wood rail while focusing on an object. This vision training was designed to improve perception, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, focus, and more; Fitzgerald credits it for his successes, both on and off the field.

Appelbaum himself suffered from chronic headaches as a child, and thus hated to read. In optometry school he discovered he had “convergence insufficiency,” a condition characterized by eyes that don’t turn in together, affecting close work such as reading. He was treated with eye exercises, and his headaches disappeared. Now he loves to read.

According to the American Optometric Association, “Studies indicate that 60 percent of children identified as ‘problem learners’ actually suffer from undetected vision problems and in some cases have been inaccurately diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

And, as a recent New York Times article noted, “Many behavioral optometrists say that 20 to 25 percent of children overall have vision problems that can impede their ability to reach their potential. These problems commonly include: poor eye-movement control or ‘tracking issues,’ problems with accommodation (when the eyes don’t focus well together or sustain focus at various distances), convergence insufficiency, difficulties sustaining visual attention, poor visual-motor integration (bad hand-eye coordination), weak visual form perception (the ability to reproduce and generalize shapes) and poor visual memory.”

If behavioral optometry can help even a fraction of these kids reach their potential – and there is experiential evidence that it can – then this exciting new field has the potential to revolutionize the lives of millions. It’s exciting to know that you are part of this change.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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9 responses to “Behavioral Optometry – Behavioral Optometrist”

  1. Avatar for Kellee Kellee says:

    The best thing I ever did for my eyes was switching from my regular optometrist to a behaviorial optometrist. I started having vision problems where the vision in my right eye was “zooming” in and out and the vision in my left eye just wasn’t as sharp. The regular optometrist told me that it “just happens” as you age and that I needed glasses, both for reading and distance. Somehow I just knew that the information given to me was incorrect. Deep inside myself I knew things weren’t right. I switched to a behavioral optometrist and lo and behold, he discovered that my eyes had quit teaming due to eye strain (due partly to excessive computer work and partly to a virus that created additional strain). Under the behavioral optometrist’s care, the vision in my left eye has now returned to 20/20 status while my right eye is 20/40 and still improving. This should be regular standard of care for the eyes. It’s too bad that it isn’t and is still viewed by the “regular” medical establishment as questionable practice.

  2. Avatar for Marilyn Marilyn says:

    Is there a website to find these behavioral optometrists?

  3. Avatar for Penny Penny says:

    At age 7 my son was told that he was too old for vision therapy and that he should just wear glasses to protect his ‘good eye’. I would still like to get him those exercises but I don’t know how to find a behavioral optometrist in my area. Any suggestions? He is 14 now. Amblyopia and Nystagmus are his diagnosis. 20/25 Right eye and 20/200 Left.

  4. Avatar for Sadiqtamanna Sadiqtamanna says:

    Very useful, informative and instructive article.

  5. Avatar for Louise Louise says:

    So I’d comment that you don’t “believe” that these kind of behaviour are signs of non-optimal visual skills. You “know” this to be true because the great body of scientific research supports this conclusion! And not just optometry research – psychology research, neurology research & even chiropractic research validates your approach. Thanks for sharing this information. L:-)

  6. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Tyler Sorensen says:

    Hi Marilyn,

    The following links will help you to find a behavioral optometrist in your area – he or she should be able to help you:

    To your vision — for life,


  7. Avatar for shootingstar shootingstar says:

    Dear Tyler Sorensen,

    Besides behavioral optometrist and regular optometrist, what others eyes doctors are there?


  8. Avatar for Darren Smith Darren Smith says:

    I think everyone should be aware of behavioural optometry because it can really help us a lot.

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