What Type of Vision Specialist Does My Child Need?

by | Oct 26, 2019 | Occupational Therapy

Your child’s therapist may have recommended a visit to a vision specialist for a variety of reasons. It is recommended that a child have their first vision exam at 6 months, 3 years and pre-kindergarten.  It can be tricky deciding which vision specialist you should choose as they are very tricky to distinguish the difference between the 3 main vision specialists.  

Ophthalmologist – An ophthalmologist is a Doctor of Medicine who specializes in eye care. Ophthalmologists can sub-specialize in areas like retina, glaucoma, and pediatrics as well. Ophthalmologists can give routine eye exams, prescribe contacts and glasses, diagnose and treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery. An Ophthalmologist can treat eye health issues that may connect to issues in other systems of your body such as diabetes.  

Optometrist – Optometrists can also specialize in specific areas of optometry such as developmental, pediatric, or behavioral optometry. An optometrist can perform routine eye exams, prescribe glasses and contacts, and diagnose and treat some eye diseases. The optometrist can treat pink eye, dry eyes, and other common eye issues that do not necessarily connect to health concerns in other parts of the body.

Developmental Optometrist – A developmental optometrist is an optometrist who specializes in the impact vision has on development. A developmental optometrist can give routine eye exams, prescribe glasses and contacts, diagnose and treat some diseases, and if applicable offer vision therapy. A developmental optometrist might treat an eye issue such as convergence insufficiency, difficulty getting eyes to work together to focus on close objects, with vision therapy and eye exercises.


Jill Campbell COTA/L