Finding the Right Eye Doctor

Finding an eye doctor, a doctor that suits your needs, can be quite challenging. The type of care you receive when seeing an eye doctor depends, in part, on which eye doctor you choose. Within all medical professions, even specialties, providers have different areas of expertise, philosophies of care and communication styles. In optometry, there is a smaller community of optometrists that specialize in vision and learning.

All optometrists are not the same.

Within optometry, you can practice in a general practice usually called primary care, or you can specialize in one or more different areas. Some of these specialities include contact lenses, co-management of refractive surgery, dry eye, disease, glaucoma, geriatrics, low vision, sports vision, neuro-rehabilitative optometry, developmental/behavioral optometry, pediatrics, vision training, and learning disabilities.

Choosing the Right Eye Doctor

For very young children (6 months up to age 5-7) it is recommended that you choose a pediatric optometrist that emphasizes developmental vision.

Very young children are not able to respond accurately to the same testing procedures as adults or older children. These doctors specialize in caring for the vision of very young children and often have very different equipment in their offices to accurately test a childs visual system. Pediatric optometrists that emphasize developmental vision are often very skilled in preventative care. This means potential vision problems can be avoided before they become trouble. It also means your child MAY be prevented from needing to wear glasses when they get older. Remember good vision is much more complex than simply seeing 20/20.

For school age children, it is also recommended that your child sees an eye doctor with an emphasis in developmental/behavioral optometry, but one that also specializes in learning disabilities and vision training. It sounds like it would be difficult to find such a doctor, but most optometrists that specialize in children have this type of expertise.

The following is a list of links to organizations that will give you FREE access to referral databases to find an optometrist that specializes in children near you:

Note: Each organization only lists its own members in their database. We suggest you use more than one link to find doctors in your area.

College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) Member Directory

This organization serves as the certifying body for Doctors in the Optometric specialty called Behavioral/Developmental/Rehabilitative Optometry. If a doctor chooses, he/she may apply for COVD fellowship. Fellowship is difficult to obtain and is only granted after interviews, publishing and knowledge testing is completed and accepted by a committee. Fellows are certified specialists in vision therapy.

dOptometric Extension Program (OEP) Foundation Referral Database

The OEP Foundation is an international non-profit organization that serves the educational needs of behavioral optometrists by providing continuing education credits and provides public information about vision care. The optometrists listed on the Referral List practice preventive and rehabilitative optometry.

dParents Active for Vision Education (PAVE)

PAVE is a national non-profit education, resource and support organization founded by parents and teachers who know children that benefited from vision therapy. Their mission is to raise public awareness of the crucial relationship between vision and achievement. This link gives phone numbers to local chapters that may be near you. They also have a national number listed in case a chapter is not in your area. If you want to speak to someone to find out more information, as well as get a referral, then contact PAVE.

National Network of Optometrists - Pediatric Eyecare and Behavioral Optometry

An organization made up of behavioral optometrists around the globe to better educate the public on vision care. This referral program requires that you answer some questions to best choose the doctor that suits your needs and to help create a database to better serve the public. It is made up of doctors that offer vision therapy who have paid a subscription fee to set up webpages on this site.

dNeuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association International, Inc. (NORA)

NORA was established to provide, network and share information about visual rehabilitation between optometrists, ophthalmologists, physicians, rehabilitation professionals, occupational therapists, educators, psychologists, nurses, etc. for the understanding and treatment of persons who have physical disabilities and/or traumatic brain injury. Their mission is to expand awareness about the visual problems and the needs of those that suffer from traumatic brain injury.

This referral database is a little different than the ones above. This site helps find neurorehabilitative optometrists that specialize in traumatic brain injury. Many of them have vision therapy practices and may also diagnose and treat children with learning related.

AOA - American Optometric AssociationAmerican Optometric Association - AOA

The American Optometric Association is the premier authority in the optometric profession. With more than 35,000 members in 6,500 U.S. communities, the AOA leads the way in its mission of improving the quality and availability of eye and vision care everywhere. Members of the AOA will not necessarily be specialists in pediatrics, vision therapy, vision development, aquired brain injury, vision related learning problems, or sports vision. Look carefully for a doctor that does have experience in these specialty areas.

AOA Infantsee programInfantSEEĀ®

Through InfantSEEĀ®, optometrists will provide a one-time, comprehensive eye assessment to infants in their first year of life, offering early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost regardless of income.


The links on this web site are provided only for your convenience to provide more information on vision. The creators of this site have no financial interest in any site linked, nor do they claim any responsibility for information found on these sites. No promises or warranties of any kind as to the content of any site linked are expressed or implied.




vision and learning vision and learning vision and learning vision and learning vision and learning vision and learning what is vision visionandlearning.org home Helpful Resources