developmental optometristA developmental optometrist is another name for a behavioural optometrist, which is an optometrist who takes a special interest in the development of the visual system, especially as it applies to learning difficulties and the development of conditions like myopia.

Most developmental optometrists start out as I did, being a regular optometrist but wanting to do more to help the children I was seeing.  I recognized that conventional optometry did not detect all the conditions of the eyes, in particular those which relate to children with learning problems.

Many kids with learning difficulties visit an optometrist and are told that they have 20/20 vision, and that they are not long or short sighted.  This leaves parents with little alternative except to move on and try tutoring, etc., but if you main symptom is poor concentration when reading and doing close work, there has got to be more to the story!

So How Can a Developmental or Behavioural Optometrist Help?

On the Sunshine Coast there are many optometrists, in all shapes and sizes, some working for big corporations and others, like myself, in smaller, friendlier local practices.  Yet there are very few behavioural optometrists, dedicated to testing and treating visual development in children with learning difficulties.

“When you are a Developmental Optometrist your entire philosophy of vision testing changes,” explains Dr Darin Browne, “And rather than simply testing to see if a child is long or short sighted, we look far deeper at the focusing and eye teaming abilities, as well as factors like visual memory for spelling, directionality for letter reversals and other perceptual skills like coding, sequencing and even eye movements.”

The reality is that the developmental optometrist often discover deeper issues that are not even being tested by other more conventional Optometrists.  And even more importantly, they have a means of not only testing for conditions, but also treating them successfully.

“Using specialized lenses and prescribing various types of vision therapy we can successfully help the vast majority of children who come to our practice with learning problems,” explains Darin, “and that is what most parents really want to see happen… that their children, who they know are bright, have the chance to reach their full potential.”

So even if your child has seen another Optometrist, why not visit Eye CU and discover how a developmental optometrist could make the difference in your child’s learning difficulties.

nearsightedness and farsightednessMany people ask me how nearsightedness and farsightedness are related to learning, especially among children.  Do they make things worse, better or is learning and reading completely unaffected by these two conditions?

Farsightedness Verses Nearsightedness

It helps to understand the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness.  Nearsightedness is when distant objects become blurred but near objects are easier to see and focus on.  Long sightedness or farsightedness is the opposite, where distant objects are clear and easy to concentrate on, but near objects like books and computers are more difficult to focus on.


The symptoms are where it gets very interesting.  Farsightedness usually sees both distance and near objects clearly, but their main problem is eyestrain.  Nearsighted people rarely experience eyestrain, but the price they pay for this is the distant objects become more and more blurry.

So when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are actually polar opposites.


Nearsighted people tend to be big near viewers, that is they concentrate for long periods of time on close tasks.   Unlike their farsighted counterparts, near sighted people (or myopic people) are usually bookworms, computer geeks, gamers, studiers and good students.


In contrast, farsightedness makes looking at near objects much harder.  Therefore most long sighted people have a hard time concentrating on near objects, and so they tend to either experience eyestrain such as sore eyes or headaches, or frequently they simply fail to concentrate and so they become academically very poor.


Many children with learning disabilities find it hard to concentrate and do well at school because they are farsighted.  On the other hand, most short sighted students are good at school, and most often at reading.


It should also be noted that with the rise of hand held computer devices such as smart phones, tablets and hand held gaming consoles, the incidence of nearsightedness is increasing rapidly.  This is because, unlike farsightedness, becoming more nearsighted gives the person an edge up close and allows them to concentrate foe a long period of time doing what they love!  Again, concentrating for long period on near objects promotes the growth of nearsightedness ad farsightedness is actually detrimental to prolonged close work.


So, when it comes to learning, nearsightedness and farsightedness are complete opposites.


Learning Disabilities

eye exercises for myopiaMany Optometrists  address myopia or nearsightedness using glasses,  but is there an argument for using eye exercises for myopia?

To  understand this question we  should  consider the  beginnings of  nearsightedness, because if we can understand why something happens we  could attempt to stop it from happening again (makes sense doesn’t it).

In our society we are seeing a  significant  rise in short sightedness, and this  is because of the marked  rise in sustained near vision tasks such as  computers, hand-held  devices and reading in general. This jump in the amount of myopia,  particularly amongst children and  teens,  has actually confirmed  exactly what we have actually known for a long time, that a large amount of sustained concentration on close activities particularly screens can cause nearsightedness to occur as a result.

Prolonged concentration on near tasks, which  could occur while studying, reading, working  and even playing  video games, triggers stress and tension within in your eyes. Do it enough and you will give yourself headaches or sore eyes, unless your vision discovers another method to deal with the tension.  Nearsightedness, letting the distance go blurred while close objects remain clear and comfortable, is one such  method!

So, due to the fact that near tension is the major source for a lot of nearsightedness, eye exercises for myopia can be really effective,  especially in the early stages of the problem.  I use a range of eye exercises to manage short sightedness, and we obtain really good outcomes for  some kinds of nearsightedness.  Other kinds do not respond well to eye exercises, so claims that you can do exercises and throw away your glasses are either exaggerated or completely false!

Many of the eye exercises for myopia we have actually use do a good job because they work on relaxing or releasing the strain on vision during  focused near work. They include anything from specialized massaging around the eyes and shoulders, right through to lifestyle modifications such as taking breaks and  looking up when doing close work.

Effective treatment for nearsightedness involves decreasing the strain on eyesight when doing huge amounts of reading or computer  job or games.  It  could  include lifestyle  modifications, taking breaks and looking up  in to the distance regularly,  yet it can  additionally  include specialized eye exercises for  nearsightedness,  along with  often glasses.  Making use of tried and true approaches using the right lenses and/or eye exercises can  reduce or control nearsightedness and  occasionally  even reverse it.  Sometimes it can even allow you to throw your glasses away!

So i you are starting to see the distance go  fuzzy, don’t  ignore it!   Come to Eye CU Optometrist and get the right advice.  We can help you and  see that you  properly  decrease the  strain of excessive computer work and reading.  Come and talk to us about how you can use eye exercises for myopia control, reduction and reversal today!

Sunshine Coast OptometristIf you are trying to find a children’s Sunshine Coast Optometrist then it is worth turning to Dr Darin Browne, who has been working with children and learning difficulties for over 25 years.

Darin operates from a family friendly Optometry practice and brings years of experience and creativity into the testing of children, especially kids who are struggling at school.  His entire practice is geared around children, with a huge selection of fun frames, the latest in lens innovation for kids and online vision therapy.

He makes sure that from the moment you walk through the door, you are made to feel welcome, with friendly staff and a great atmosphere that your kids will love, from the PlayStation in the reception area to specialized tests that have been designed exclusively for children.

In fact, he thrives on kids, so your child’s eye test will be more fun than any other offered by any Sunshine Coast Optometrist.

Darin has seen remarkable changes in the world of optometry, and in the field of learning disabilities and dyslexia.  And with vision being the dominant sense in the classroom, having over 80% of all information coming in to the child’s brain, the link between vision problems and learning difficulties is a very strong one.

With most optical stores on the Coast treating children like miniature adults, Darin is the Sunshine Coast optometrist with a completely different view, with a host of special tests designed for children which the big stores simply don’t do.

He also writes and designs his own therapies, so the incredible results seen for children with learning difficulties are available exclusively through Eye CU Optometrist on the Sunshine Coast.

So don’t leave your child struggling to learn, or experiencing headaches, sore eyes or poor concentration and frustration when trying to read.  Visit Dr Darin Browne at Eye CU, the Sunshine Coast Optometrist who genuinely cares for your children and your family.

Vision Therapy HTS

Vision Therapy HTS
Found this awesome TV report on why you should get your child’s eyes tested at a childrens vision behavioural optometrist like Eye CU Optometrist.

childrens behavioural optometrist

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This is why we recommend a trip to the childrens behavioural optometrist, not just the regular optometrist you might visit as an adult.  We have loads of extra tests and can do a lot more to specifically help kids with learning difficulties.