How is a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation Different than a Vision Test?

Written on October 12, 2020

We often hear from parents that their child “passed their eye test” which was most likely offered at school or at a well baby visit in the pediatrician’s office.  Sometimes our Occupational Therapists identify that although a child’s visual acuity test may not have shown a deficit, there are some visual skill deficits that may be present. Difficulties with vision skills often contribute to the challenges that are addressed by an Occupational Therapist, which is why we will occasionally recommend a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation. Today we welcome a guest writer to our blog from the developmental optometrist offices of Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell to help our parents understand the importance of this referral! Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell are two of the excellent doctors featured on BDI’s trusted professionals list who specialize in this area, have worked with us often, are eager to collaborate with us, and consistently help our kids achieve great results!

Website: Drs. Marini & Campbell Website

Facebook: Drs. Marini & Campbell Facebook

What is a Developmental Optometrist?

A developmental optometrist is an eye doctor who has more specialized training than regular optometrists. To gain the distinction of Developmental Optometrist, one must complete several extra years of post-graduate training. Like regular optometrists, developmental optometrists check acuity and health of patient’s eyes, but they also run additional tests to determine if patients have the visual skills necessary to perform tasks regularly required in daily life, especially at work or school. Due to these tests, developmental optometrists specialize in diagnosing and treating delays in visual skills, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (crossed) or wandering eyes.

When to See a Developmental Optometrist

There are certain symptoms that may be indicative of vision problems, especially in children. These include: squinting, eye rubbing, and excessive blinking. Other warning signs may occur when, and immediately after, reading. Some of the most common behaviors that are indicators of visual difficulties are: head tilting, closing or blocking an eye, headaches, dizziness, or nausea.

Besides physical clues, there are also performance-based clues, as well as secondary symptoms and specific labels that children with vision problems have. Generally, children with visual difficulties display one or more of these visual performance clues: avoidance of near work, difficulty copying from the board, and poor handwriting. When reading, these children may consistently: lose their place, have poor comprehension, omit, insert, or reread letters and words, confuse similar looking words, and fail to recognize the same word in different sentences. This can lead to the development of secondary symptoms such as: seeming smart in everything but school, as well as significant frustration, stress, and fatigue with written work, as well as a child being mislabeled as a slow learner, working below potential, or as having Attention Deficit Disorder.

If your child is displaying any of these symptoms and you would like some help specific to your child, please contact Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell’s office to set up an evaluation or consult with one of the Occupational Therapists at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy to find a trusted doctor near you.

Written by: Julie Metzler, Manager of Vision Therapy