Behavioral Optometrist

Use therapy to improve problems with eyesight.
picture of Behavioral Optometrist

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$72,000 – $125,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Behavioral Optometrists do?

A Behavioral Optometrist believes that people’s vision problems can sometimes be corrected by improving the eye-brain connection. While every kindergarten graduate knows that the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, and that the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, a Behavioral Optometrist also knows this: The eyes are connected to the brain, and the brain is connected to everything else!

Traditional Optometrists and Ophthalmologists typically focus only on the eyes. As a Behavioral Optometrist, however, you believe that the brain deserves equal attention. In addition to prescribing glasses and contact lenses, you therefore prescribe occupational therapy for the eyes. This requires giving patients physical and mental exercises — like an Occupational Therapist would — designed to “retrain” the eyes and strengthen the brain.

For example, you might have someone who has trouble focusing on nearby objects hold a pencil at arm’s length and focus on the tip, gradually moving it toward the nose. Although the patient’s vision will likely double, he or she may eventually learn to hold a single image of the pencil tip. Similarly, you might help a child with ADHD or dyslexia by giving them visual exercises, believing it will improve their “visual thinking,” and therefore their ability to concentrate, organize, and learn.

Controversial in some circles, behavioral optometry is considered “alternative medicine,” which means your patients have typically been failed by traditional optometry. By taking a holistic approach to vision, you believe you can help them not only see better, but also learn, work, and develop more productively.


Should I be a Behavioral Optometrist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become a Behavioral Optometrist

    Most Behavioral Optometrists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||||doctorate+%28100%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,100
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