Neuro-Optometry

Neuro-optometric services are provided to individuals who have vision related problems associated with neurological disease, trauma, metabolic or congenital conditions. When the visual system is disturbed neurologically, it can adversely affect activities of daily living for both children and adults.

All patients suffering from neurological disease, trauma or conditions should be referred to a doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye and neuro-optometric services.  

What is neuro-optometry:

Neuro-optometric services include:

  • Comprehensive evaluations of sensory motor, visual field, accommodative, and oculomotor function
  • Visual processing evaluations.
  • Ocular health examinations
  • Special testing, such as electro-diagnostic services
  • Therapy options
  • Coordination of care with other health care professionals and rehabilitation specialists, such as occupational, physical and speech therapist

Primary eye care and neuro-optometry:

As primary eye care physicians, every doctor of optometry should be able to identify and refer patients in need neuro-optometric services, as well as educate them on how optometry can benefit their rehabilitation.

All optometric practitioners should ask specific questions when patients present with stroke, brain injury, double vision, developmental and problems with cognition. The patient's history should document when the condition started, what testing was done and the results of the testing and information on present and past treatment. Binocular and oculomotor testing to help with the diagnosis is the basic responsibility of the optometrist. In addition, visual fields, pupil testing, ocular tracking and a dilated fundus evaluation are necessary. More extensive testing would be done for those optometrists who practice in this field. Optometrists that do not provide neuro rehabilitative services should be aware of those practices that do offer these services and be prepared to refer.

Advocacy

The AOA is committed to helping to connect more patients with the neuro-optometric services they need, as well as helping our doctors provide those services. Our goals include:

  1. Educating policymakers, patients, and other professions about the importance of neuro-optometric services provided by doctors of optometry and the impact of those service

  2. Providing and guiding members to resources that help them provide more neuro-optometric services

  3. Advocating for scope of practice laws that allow doctors of optometry to practice neuro-optometric to the fullest extent of their training and expertise

  4. Advocating for increased access and coverage of Neuro-optometric services


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