Meet Dr. Kavner

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Meet Dr. Heather McBryar! Learn about how she got into optometry, and the unique work she does.

Dr. Richard Kavner, FAAO

Dr. Richard Kavner, FCOVD is a leading author and clinician in the field of developmental and behavioural optometry. He has extensive experience from decades of providing advanced care to patients of all ages including; pediatric, special needs, concussions, strokes, and athletes.

Dr. Kavner graduated from the Massachusetts College of Optometry with a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Optometry. He also completed graduate studies at Queens College and the Gesell Institute of Child Development. He has contributed to many institutions, holding prestigious positions including working as Chief of the Optometric Clinic at the Fort Hamilton Army Dispensary. Additionally, he worked at many hospitals in various leadership and consulting positions. He was Chief of the Behavioral Vision Laboratory and chairman of many optometric institutions specializing in the fields of vision therapy, sports vision, binocular vision and perception. 

Dr. Kavner has contributed greatly to many research projects and has published countless articles with his findings in various optometric journals on a vast range of topics. These include vision and school achievement, treating amblyopia with pleoptic therapy, optometry for the special needs community, and brain damage, just to name a few. He has published a book and lectured extensively on so many topics in the developmental and behavioral optometry field. He has won various awards and accolades for his tremendous contributions to optometry as we know it. 

How She Got into Her Focuses of Pediatric Optometry and Vision Therapy

While working for an optometrist in college (the same one who initially inspired her), the future Dr. McBryar was asked to do developmental vision testing on a child patient. She again quickly fell in love with the ideas of vision therapy and developmental vision care. By the time she started optometry school she already knew with certainty, that these were the areas upon which she would focus. After she graduated, she went directly into practicing pediatric optometry and vision therapy.

Dr. McBryar on What She Does

“The biggest misconception people have is that vision is just 20/20.”

It’s not just about being able to read an eye chart and knowing that in the physical sense, the eyes are healthy.

“What we don’t think about is how our eyes acquire visual information, how our brains process that information, and the impact that this can have on our children’s academic performance.”
She describes the different aspects of vision, such as the “hardware and the software” of the visual system. Most optometrists focus on the “hardware,” making sure the eyes are healthy and that, if needed, you have the correct prescription lenses.

The “software,” on the other hand, is what determines whether the eyes can work well together (e.g., focusing in the same direction), that the extraocular muscles work as they should to enable you to see clearly, or they can move properly to point at what one needs to look at (vital for children trying to read). Visual memory (that is, being able to properly process what the eyes see) is also a key component of learning.

If any of these “software” components do not function properly, a child’s academic performance can be significantly impacted.

Dr. McBryar’s goal is, through the use of developmental vision care, and vision therapy, is to catch and correct any issues as early as possible, and to prevent what might initially be a minor difficulty from becoming something more severe that can make a child’s life much more difficult.

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