One of the joys of being an optometrist for children is that you have a tremendous sense of job satisfaction because you are changing lives. Having a child present with learning difficulties and knowing that you can prescribe glasses and eye exercises to help the makes being an optometrist for children and exciting profession, day after day.
Why I Love Being an Optometrist for Children
I love being an optometrist for children! It allows me to study more, be more innovative and enjoy my consultations more. It also allows me to slightly crazy, because in my experience becoming an optometrist for children means that you basically never have to grow up. So rather than being a regular optometrist and seeing loads of old people with ocular diseases, I get to hang out with kids and their parents using lenses and eye exercises to bring about positive outcomes.
However my main reason for being an optometrist for children is the satisfaction of being able to change young lives forever. I have seen many children who struggle in school, despite the fact that they are very intelligent. School performance is frequently not an indication of underlying intelligence. Given that vision is the dominant sense in the classroom, with over 80% of all information coming in through the visual system, it is the obvious place to start when dealing with a child with learning difficulties.
An Optometrist for Children Can Help learning Difficulties
Many children suffer with learning difficulties in our schools, and one of the great joys an optometrist for children can have is helping these kids perform to their maximum ability, whatever that may be. And while we cannot promise that every child will become Einstein, in most cases we can improve the visual performance and thus the overall performance of a child with learning difficulties.
Using specialized support lenses which can relieve the pressure on a child’s focusing and eye coordination, thereby causing them to concentrate more effectively. Using targeted vision therapy, we are able to give children the visual skills they require to perform better in their schoolwork, including things like reading flow, spelling and even writing.
Your average optometrist has very little to offer a child with learning difficulties, other than a measurement of with available or short sighted. However, an optometrist for children will not only offer a unique perspective on the way a child’s vision is behaving, they can also improve the skills of a child needs to learn efficiently.
All this, plus the ability to be slightly crazy for most of my working day is why I love being an optometrist for children.
Children are unique, and so it makes sense that an optometrist for children is unique as well! Children are not little adults and cannot be treated that way, although most optometrists attempt to do this. I believe kids need the special attention of optometrist for children, who can run specific tests and judge the effect any vision problems may have on their schooling.
An Optometrist for Children Does More Training
Optometrists have been trained in prescribing lenses for long sightedness, short sightedness, astigmatism and age related conditions as well as detection of ocular disease. However, when it comes to children, this does not answer all the questions posed by parents especially in regards to behaviour and achievement at school.
An optometrist for children has generally done extra training that goes beyond whether a child can see or not. They do extensive testing around visual stress when reading, taking a multitude of measurements which can indicate if there is any stress on the visual system while the child is focusing on trying to coordinate the eyes for reading. They also examine visual perception, and can look at and treat how the child takes in information and interprets it. They can examine eye movements, visualization and recall for spelling, coding, sequencing, directional concepts and hand eye coordination.
An optometrist for children has the ability to go far beyond simply prescribing glasses for clarity, using special lenses, contact lenses and specialized eye exercises to achieve the optimum result in helping a child with learning difficulties improve.
An Optometrist for Children Connects with Kids
An optometrist for children is different to a regular optometrist in that they know how to relate to kids, and how to obtain the most accurate answers to the questions parents have about their child’s performance. They often have specialized tests which are fun as well as informative, carry an extensive range of children’s classes and provide an atmosphere in the office which is unique and tailored for the children themselves.
And most optometrists for children are a bit like myself… highly trained adults who never really grew up! You simply wouldn’t become an optometrist for children if he could not relate to and connect with kids.
An Optometrist for Children Can Dramatically Improve Schoolwork
If your child is struggling with schoolwork or suffers from a learning disability, not all eye tests are the same. Eye tests at the local shopping centre may be okay for an adult, but will not provide the information and insight that you need if your child is struggling at school.
An optometrist for children can, however, provide answers for the parents of children with learning disabilities. Using specialized tests, unique forms of treatment in every area from lenses through to eye exercises, and having a unique rapport with children, an optometrist for children could be just the thing you’re looking for if your child is struggling at school.
In many areas around the world and across my home area of the Sunshine Coast short sight development is reaching epidemic proportions! This is especially true among teenagers and preteens and came to a large extent be blamed upon the massive increase in screen-based viewing done by these age groups.
Common Causes of Short Sight
Short sight or myopia occurs when distance vision becomes blurry but near vision is preserved. In the traditional model, the eyeball is described as being too long, causing the inadequate optics of the eye focus distant objects in front of the retina. What many people do not realize is that before there is any change in the axial length of the eyeball, there is most often a spasming of focus.
When a child has to do an excessive amount of close work, some children find it very difficult. To overcome this difficulty, they lock the focus on the objects so that when they look up towards the distance, their focus fails to fully relax, spasming short of the mark. If this is done for long enough, the distance becomes permanently blurry but they’re reading remains comfortable, and this is the start of short sight.
This is particularly true if they have a genetic predisposition to going shortsighted, which can occur within families and even within races (for example among Asians). If we had an excessive amount of close work to the genetics, and adding factors such as diet and other influences, then we have a recipe for an increase in short sight among the population.
On the Sunshine Coast Short Sight is Dramatically Increasing
In my home area of the sunshine Coast short sight is definitely on the increase, particularly among the young. The genetics have not changed, the diet has not changed but the amount of close work that children are doing has dramatically increased, and to me this is the obvious cause for the increase in myopia.
In the last few years, with the appearance of iPods, Nintendo DS’s and smartphones, kids are doing more near work than ever before. They might do their assignment on the computer, then take a break by playing a computer game, texting their friends, browsing the Internet or hanging out on Facebook. They are concentrating the longer and harder than ever before at screen-based equipment, and to going outside far less than they have ever done before. This is tied in with the largest increase in myopia that we have ever seen on the Sunshine Coast.
Different ways of Treating Short Sight
On the Sunshine Coast short sight is treated in different ways. Traditional optometrists prescribe distance lenses which make things that are blurry in the distance more clear. The problem is, they encourage the growth of shortsightedness so that when children returned to these optometrist the prescription is significantly increased year after year. The vast majority of optometrist, especially those associated with large chains, treat myopia in this way.
I am passionate about decreasing the amount of short sight among the children and teenagers of the Sunshine Coast. As a behavioural optometrist, I am using state of the art spectacle lenses, contact lenses and my own especially designed vision therapy to help reduce short sight rather than increase it!
If you live on the Sunshine Coast, short sight can be controlled and even decreased if it is treated correctly, and we are working tirelessly to reduce short sight at every opportunity.
Taking your child to a sunshine coast optometrist can be a scary thing. Many are skilled at testing and diagnosing adults, but children are a completely different thing all together! Some have trouble understanding what they are being asked, some wriggle and squirm in the chair and others are defiant!
Darin Browne is one sunshine coast optometrist who loves testing children. With years of experience, he has seen it all and knows everything there is to know about how to get sensible and valid answers from a child, no matter how young they are.
In addition, Darin and his wife run Lily House, a home for pregnant teenagers and young mothers in their community, so he is constantly in contact with and communicating with children of all ages, and their concerned parents.
Being a behavioural optometrist means you really have to love testing children. It is not like an adult eye test, and when approaching a child we are looking for different things from when we test an adult, especially in the case of children with learning disabilities or problems.
“The issue with children is not whether they can see, because clearly most of them can,” says Darin, “The real issue is how they approach their school work, and how they perform at school. Can they read, do they misread words, do they skips word or lines and above all, can the concentrate when reading?”
One Sunshine Coast Optometrist Goes Further
It takes time, expertise and a great rapport with children to test a child’s eyes properly. In most cases, Darin prefers to do this without using drops, which he feels creates an artificial effect on the eyes. Drops serve to paralyse the focussing processes of the eyes, and that is exactly where most children have problems!
So to get a great result with a child, one sunshine coast optometrist goes further and does more to check children’s eyes, including analysis of the focussing, eye coordination and eye movement systems, as well as visual perception and examining how the child processes their school environment.
Children are not small adults, they are unique in themselves and need to be examined and treated in a special way. So don’t make the mistake of seeing the average sunshine coast optometrist. If you are concerned about your child’s eyes, and their performance in school, take the time to have them examined by a behavioural optometrist.
Darin Browne: the sunshine coast optometrist who really cares for your child’s vision.
Sunshine Coast Optometrist
I believe the behavioural optometrist offers a unique perspective on myopia or short sight control. Well known for their work with children, especially children with learning disabilities, the behavioural optometrist can bring the same principles and ideas to treat a number of eye problems including concentration and productivity issues, sports vision and short sightedness.
How is a Behavioural Optometrist Different?
A behavioural optometrist offers a different perspective to regular optometrists. He tends to bring a holistic approach to his practice, spending a lot more time examining how a person uses their eyes and how efficiently they use them rather than whether they can see or not.
A behavioural optometrist also has a wider variety of treatments to offer patients, rather than the traditional glasses or contact lenses. They will use specialized glasses, support reading lenses, vision therapy and eye exercises and offer expert advice on how to relieve ocular tension and visual stress.
Yet perhaps the greatest difference between a behavioural optometrist and a regular optometrist is in the area of philosophy. While regular practitioners prescribe glasses to make a blurry images clearer, the behavioural optometrist is intent on making inefficient or stressful vision more efficient, more comfortable and more productive. They are also interested in limiting the growth of conditions like short sightedness rather than simply increasing the power through the use until the patient requires thick lenses to see any distant object.
How Does a Behavioural Optometrist Treat Myopia
As a behavioural optometrist, one of the areas I clearly differ from with my colleagues is in the treatment of myopia or short sightedness. While other practitioners will give distance glasses to young myopes, I will almost never do this because I have discovered that this increases a child’s dependency on the lenses, causing the prescription to rise year by year until they are looking through the bottom of Coke bottles to try and see clearly the distance!
I was not happy treating myopia this way! Over the last several years I have become a passionate advocate of any way or means possible to limit the growth of myopia, stop it or even reverse it. I have pledged to use any knowledge or technique within my power to stop the growth of myopia in children, and this has led me on an exciting and extremely rewarding journey.
Through the use of specialized lenses such as support lenses, bifocals and even specialize contact lenses I have been able to limit the growth of myopia in over 90% of the myopes in my practice. However, I do not want to stop there but rather be proactive in trying to reverse the condition.
With this in mind, I am just releasing a series of vision therapy exercises that can be used in conjunction with lenses or contact lenses to further reduce the visual stress children are under and attempt to limit or reverse the growth of the short sightedness they experience.
A Behavioural Optometrist Could Hold the Key!
So if you were worried about the growth of short sightedness in yourself or your children, a behavioural optometrist could hold the key. We are proactively trying to limit, stop or even reverse the growth of myopia, and we use every means at our disposal to try and do this. If you are content to see your child’s short sighted prescription increase year after year, then don’t come and see us.
But if you want to try and stop, limit or even reverse the effects of myopia on your child or yourself, see a behavioural optometrist!
On the Sunshine Coast Optometrist practices are everywhere, in most major shopping centres and suburbs, so why should you travel further to a particular Optometrist practice rather than go down the road to your local practitioner?
The only valid reason for traveling further is that the more distant one offers something that the local one does not. Perhaps their prices are lower, or their receptionist prettier, or maybe their selection of frames is better. If they are all the same, why would you go further for the same product?
Is One Sunshine Coast Optometrist the Same as the Next?
The fact is that not every Sunshine Coast Optometrist offers the same value and this particularly applies to their mode of practice, not fashion or price. Yet on the Sunshine Coast Optometrist consultations are generally billed to Medicare, meaning that a 10 minute consultation in a chain store costs exactly the same as a comprehensive consultation at our practice… zero to the patient!
That’s why so many of our patients travel great distances to be seen by Darin Browne. They recognize the value of 25 years of Behavioural Optometry experience, the extra value in time and diagnosis that Darin puts in and the great prices and selection of your frames and lenses.
The Holistic Sunshine Coast Optometrist
Unlike the average Sunshine Coast Optometrist, Darin Browne at Eye CU offers a holistic view for children, teenagers, adults and even the elderly. With state of the art equipment he can test everything from eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts right through to learning disabilities and short sightedness reduction.
Darin has a holistic and natural view of conditions like short sightedness, offering innovative glasses and contact lens treatments to limit the growth of the condition, right through to carefully designed and monitored eye exercises and therapies, written exclusively by Darin for his patients.
Add to this an excellent range of frames, sharp prices and the friendliest service on the Sunshine Coast, and you have the perfect mix of professionalism and expertise, making Eye CU the best vision experience you will ever have.
That’s why Darin Browne at Eye CU in Palmwoods is the Sunshine Coast Optometrist that everyone is talking about, and traveling to!
Sunshine Coast Optometrist
Darin Browne is the sunshine coast optometrist parents are turning to in their efforts to help their children. Having spent over 25 years pursuing the study of children and learning difficulties, Darin has written and developed his own brand of targeted vision therapy that is changing the lives of children across the Sunshine Coast.
More than the Average Sunshine Coast Optometrist
Darin strives to always offer more than the average Sunshine Coast Optometrist by being innovative, caring and relentless in his pursuit of ways to help children with learning difficulties. From new and specialized equipment and tests to specially designed vision training courses, Darin is setting the standard for children’s vision among the Sunshine Coast Optometrist community.
However, he is only just beginning! Darin is currently working on a new therapy book which he will make available to his young myopic or short sighted patients, and this will become a world first among the Sunshine Coast Optometrist Community as well. He has been working to control the growth of short sightedness in children for several years and has had excellent success, keeping hundreds of children out of full time glasses. The new therapy program will add to this and help even more children who are going short sighted than ever before.
A Great Sunshine Coast Optometrist for Adults Too!
At Eye CU, we also serve an extensive community of adults and elderly patients who also have very specific needs. Another Sunshine Coast optometrist might give you glasses, but Darin will spend the time with you to make sure that you get exactly the glasses you need for your specific situation, whether you are an office worker, a driver or a stay at home mother. He takes the time to design the best solution to your vision problem in a way that another Sunshine Coast Optometrist often has no time for! That’s why our practice is situated in the hinterland, far from the rush and bustle of the city!
So if you are looking for a Sunshine Coast Optometrist who takes the time to care and puts in the effort to serve you and produce the best solutions for your lifestyle, look no further than Darin Browne.
Or if you have children and want to give them the very best behavioural care as they develop and grow, especially if school is difficult for them, look no further than Darin Browne.
And if you wear glasses and don’t want your child getting thick lenses, talk to Darin Browne and save your child a lifetime of heartache! Going the extra mile, thinking holistically and outside the normal box… that’s what Darin Browne and Eye CU is all about!
For the best quality care for you and your family, plus loads of smiles, come and visit us for the ultimate Sunshine Coast Optometrist experience!
If you are the parent of a child with a learning disabilities, then a behavioural optometrist could supply the answers you are looking for!
A behavioural optometrist has a special interest in children, especially those who are struggling with learning disabilities. These types of children are often typified by reduced concentration for near tasks, and almost always have failed to develop the necessary visual skills required to perform well at school.
But the great news is that a behavioural optometrist can help in both concentration and skills using a combination of reading glasses and vision therapy.
It is commonly thought that all an optometrist is useful for is helping a child to see. Yet, as a behavioural optometrist I can tell you that the most common symptom I see in children with learning disabilities is reduced concentration, not blur, headaches or sore eyes. Sure, these do occur on occasions, but far and away the biggest symptom I see involves reduced concentration for reading and near tasks.
This happens because often a child struggling at school is under stress, and his visual system is likewise under stress, causing the focusing and eye coordination mechanisms to break down. If looking at near tasks is stressful, the child must either do his work and suffer eyestrain, headaches and so on, or not do it… that is, stop concentrating!
A behavioural optometrist can prescribe support reading lenses or focus and eye coordination vision therapy that can increase the time a child can concentrate. For many frustrated parents this is a dream come true, but there is much more that a behavioural optometrist can do to help a child with learning disabilities.
A Behavioural Optometrist Can Help Reading
When a child learn to read they have to develop skills which help them. Skills like word recognition, visual memory, eye movements and control all serve to help a child when they read. Children with learning disabilities invariably have stunted or reduced visual skills development, often because they have not concentrated long enough to develop these skills, and this is where the behavioural optometrist can offer something very unique.
Using special exercises, therapies and games we have the opportunity to supercharge the development of these skills because we can concentrate on them specifically.
Will these visual skills develop as a child reads? Well yes, they should, but if a child has learning difficulties then they often do not develop, or are slow at developing.
Vision therapy allows us to concentrate on these skills and make them develop faster than they would through normal reading tasks. While the lenses we prescribe help children to concentrate better without stress, vision therapy allows us to train the skills they need to read, write and spell quickly and effectively.
Combining the two allows us to have the maximum impact on a child’s learning experience, and to do so in the shortest amount of time. I see the fruits of both of these treatments almost daily in my practice, and I love hearing children excitedly tell me that they have gone up a level in reading, or hearing their parents describe the improvement.
So when it comes to helping children with learning disabilities, a behavioural optometrist could hold the answer to the problem.
That’s why I love being a behavioural optometrist!
Many people do not understand the difference between a behavioural optometrist and a standard optometrist. Some think it is a badly behaved optometrist, or is it one who somehow assess behaviour, but the truth has very little to do with either of these!
Behavioural optometrists are those who assess a person’s eyes and visual performance taking into account their entire behaviour. That is, we do not test eyes as such but how a person uses and gains the most advantage from their entire visual system.
Children’s Vision and the Behavioural Optometrist
A behavioural optometrist tends to have a large percentage of children in their practice, and certainly becoming a behavioural optometrist must involve a love of children and a desire to care for their visual development through school.
If a child’s visual development is reduced their school performance will most often be likewise affected, so children with learning disabilities are some of the most frequent visitor to a behavioural optometrist.
As a behavioural optometrist I do all of the tests other optometrists do, but I add in a whole host of assessments in an effort to understand how a particular child is using their vision, and if there are any problems with it. I assess long sightedness, short sightedness and astigmatism as my colleagues, but then run a series of specific tests to look at how the child focuses, coordinates their eyes and understands what is being seen. I also assess the skills they have developed and see if they are lagging in any of these areas.
Reading glasses and vision therapy are two of the tools I have at my disposal as a behavioural optometrist, and because I am careful about how I prescribe these, I tend to get very, very good results for helping children with learning disabilities.
Most people think that a behavioural optometrist only applies his philosophy with children, but this is not true. The same ideas and logic are equally applicable for teenagers, adults and even the elderly. Rather than running some tests and churning out numbers, a behavioural optometrist applies those numbers to each patient’s specific needs, making sure that whatever they use their eyes and vision for, they are able to perform at their best.
The Behavioural Optometrist Applied Beyond Children’s Assessment
As a behavioural optometrist I apply the same philosophy to teenagers and adults. Teenagers going more and more short sighted, for example, are a very common thing in our modern society. Rather than feeding the prescription and making the lenses thicker over the year, we can apply behavioural optometry to change our approach and use special lenses or even special contact lenses to slow, stop or even reverse the progression of the short sight.
Athletes can also benefit from visiting the behavioural optometrist. In this case we can set up their vision to maximise their performance in their chosen sport.
Computer workers or gamers will also be able to perform to their maximum ability using the principle applied by a behavioural optometrist. Designing specialized lenses to help them is part of the story. Training things like eye movements, focus and eye coordination can be a second part which yields great results.
So a behavioural optometrist can provide expert help for many people of many ages in all walks of life. Our task is to help people obtain the maximum performance from their eyes and their visual system, and we use lenses, contact lenses, vision therapy and timely advice to do this.