Besides the basic referral program, there are a number of organizations designed to help you choose the right pediatric optometrist.You must first understand the type of doctor you are looking for. An optometrist is a primary care doctor that examines, diagnoses, and treats various disorders and diseases of the eyes and associated areas. They can diagnose and treat such vision conditions as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Some diseases associated with the eyes, including glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal disorders can also be treated by an optometrist. They can provide eyeglasses, contact lenses, and vision therapies to aid such issues.
An optometrist will examine and test the eyes to determine any issues with vision. It may be easy to test an adult, but optometrists specializing in pediatrics have a much bigger problem. Children between the ages of six months and seven years of age often cannot respond to tests in the proper fashion. Furthermore, there are many special needs children that require specific care. Special equipment and techniques will need to be employed to combat this. It is important to find a pediatric optometrist who specializes in developmental vision. Not only will they examine and treat your child, but they can offer preventative care so your child doesn’t face vision issues in their future.
As noted earlier, there are a number of organizations that can refer you to trusted and reputable optometrists. They are listed below.
American Optometric Association (AOA): The American Optometric Association is dedicated to improving the quality and availability of eye and vision care. They are the authority in optometry. The organization hosts over 35,000 members, including eye care specialists. Although, these doctors do not necessarily specialize in pediatrics. It will take some shopping around through the organization to find the right optometrist.
Optometric Extension Program (OEP): This organization hosts a referral database for optometrists in your area. The doctors within the organization’s referral list are specialists, and they are all reputable physicians. The OEP as a foundation serves to continue the education of doctors in optometry. It also provides public information about vision care.
College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD): This organization includes a member directory to help you find an optometrist in your area. All doctors on the list are specialists in behavioral, developmental, and rehabilitative optometry. Fellowship is difficult to obtain, so you can rest assured that only the top doctors are on this member directory.
National Network of Optometrists: This organization is made up entirely of behavioral and developmental optometrists. Many of the optometrists on the board specialize in pediatrics. The organization offers a referral program through their website to help you choose the best doctor for your little one. There is even a survey that allows you to answer questions to better match you with the correct doctor.
Parents Active for Vision Education (PAVE): This organization was founded by teachers and parents just like you. The mission of the organization is to raise public awareness concerning the relationship between vision and achievement for children. The website offers a link to local chapters of the organization. Through the local chapter for your area, you can find a pediatric optometrist that parents trust.
InfantSEE: This organization is slightly different from the others. If you are the parent of an infant, it would be extremely beneficial to give InfantSEE a call. Optometrists working with the organization will provide a comprehensive eye assessment to infants less than a year old. This offers early detection of potential eye and vision problems. The assessment is absolutely free if referred through the organization.
Check out the above organizations to help you research the right pediatric optometrist for your child. Working on a referral system is much more intimate and trustworthy than just finding a doctor in the Yellow Pages. Use the resources these organizations give you to better help your child’s vision.