How did you find your child’s eye doctor?

A question came up in the comments about how to find an expert for a second opinion for their child’s vision.  I think it’s an excellent question, and I’d love to hear thoughts on how others have gone about choosing an eye doctor for their child, and especially if you sought a second opinion, how you chose the second doctor.

14 responses to “How did you find your child’s eye doctor?

  1. Not all eye-care and doctors are the same. There are many doctors, surprisingly, who are uncomfortable examining children, while others have a natural knack for it. 80% of learning is visual. Development of good vision depends on visual stimulation and experience, clear focused binocular vision within the first 4 years of life in order for it to develop to normal adult levels. it is important that you seek an eyecare professional, by word-of-mouth preferably, who will assess beyond the 20/20 acuity. Remember the eye chart at the end of the room does not assess eye focusing skills, eye-teaming abilities, lazy eye, depth perception, colour vision, side vision, visual-motor integration, visual perceptual dysfunctions (memory, visual & written reversals) to name a few and most importantly, eye health.


    • Excellent point, Shirley! I’ve heard some awful stories of eye doctors who specialize in pediatrics, but don’t seem comfortable working with children, or helping their parents understand what’s going on.


    • shirley, great points! our ophthalmologist never mentioned peripheral vision. a developmental optometrist (vision therapy) has helped to open up my daughter’s periphery and made her a happier person… having tunnel vision is stressful. her world has opened up. vision therapy has addressed her toe-walking as well, which the ophthalmologist never noticed. it was directly related to her vision! so yes, 20/20 acuity is just one piece of a large pie and thanks for the reminder.


  2. We started with a friend of the family, an optometrist. He immediately sent us to our current PO. And here is why she’s a keeper. She said I know what it is and what we should do but have seen it so seldom let’s get a 2nd opinion from the closest big city. Then she and the retina specialist worked together with the first optometrist to develop and hone our plan. I LOVE it when doctors admit they might not know everything. We have certainly been blessed on our journey.


  3. Our pediatrician sent us to our pediatric opthalmologist. We were very fortunate to have a satellite office minutes from our home before, but now that we live an hour away from any of their offices, we’re still with our original PO’s group. I would not consider going anywhere else unless we moved more than two hours away from one of their offices.

    If I needed a second opinion, it’s likely I would first ask our pediatrician for another PO at a different hospital — there is definitely a lot of variation in treatment plans and philosophies. If I had it to do over again, I would ask everyone I know whose child wears glasses… personal opinions of doctors / offices are a good way to start, and not every doctor in every group has the same way with different age groups of children. We’ve been really lucky though, our PO has handled our kids beautifully since they were toddlers.


  4. we are about to get a 4th opinion. 2 of the doctors were found online, one was basically a referral from our pediatrician (he sent us to the ER at seattle children’s hospital the day stella’s eyes crossed severely, and so we wound up seeing an ophthalmologist there), and the other was referred by a person we trust (stella’s occupational therapist, who helped us with stella’s early feeding aversion).


  5. Gosh, it seems we’ve been so lucky. We just went to the pediatric ophthalmologist our pediatrician recommended, and he’s been great (and is 5mins away). DS has astigmatism, so we didn’t feel like we needed a 2nd opinion. After the fact, we’ve learned that most of the glasses-wearing kids we know also go there. Not sure what we’d do if we moved away, so these are great suggestions to file away.


  6. Just wondering, what makes you want to get a second opinion? (or third or fourth…) When you get a second opinion do you still go to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist, or do you go to a Developmental Optometrist? It seems that those two groups don’t get along very well… kind of like telling your pediatrician that you’re taking your kid to a chiropractor.


  7. We asked around, and ended up at the best-known PO in our area. He’s also seen my brother-in-law, who has optic nerve issues. My BIL does more research on things than anyone I know, so I’m happy to take his recommendations! We got a second opinion from another PO who has also worked with my BIL. My son’s strabismus is in both eyes, and can’t be corrected with glasses, so surgery is the only option. Though I still found an optometrist online licensed in vision therapy who gave us the same answer as the POs, so we feel like we covered all the bases.


  8. Initially the Dr. we saw was referred by my Ped… and so was the 2nd opinion (that guy was awful)…. but I also would approach other mom’s who had children in glasses as to who they saw. It was thru this process that I came across my current (AMAZING) doctor… so, my advice is to keep hunting if you aren’t feeling that you are getting the best possible care.


  9. I tend to use the internet to do a lot of my research before I make a decision. I kept coming across Dr. Alan Carlson at Duke Eye Center; everything I’ve read indicates he’s extremely well respected in his field. Call me traditional, but his academic affiliation and vast surgical experience impressed me greatly.


  10. I am taking my daughter on a third opinion. The first doctor was a Pediatric Ophthalmologist, this doctor is a highly regarded doctor at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. This doctor said my daughter is very far sighted and prescribed her +6.00 in both eyes. This doctor said no surgery is needed only if her eyes continue to cross with glasses. Shocked at this news we went for a second opinion.

    Second doctor also says my daughter is farsighted and prescribed +300 +0.50 cylinder +3.50.

    Confused with the different prescriptions my husband and I decided to go with the prescription of the first doctor because he is a pediatric ophthalmologist. Now that my daughter has been wearing her +6.00 glasses for a few months her eye crossing is much more severe than it EVER was (before only one eye slightly turned-in, now they both do). I addressed this with the doctor at the follow up appointment and the doctor said that her eyes are crossing much more because now she can see so straight with the glasses (this doesn’t make sense to me). Also when this doctor examined my daughter with her glasses on and asked her to look at the pictures chart my daughter could see perfectly all the lines with one of her eyes but with the other eye she could not make out about half of the pictures shown. The doctor’s response to this was that “she probably sees better with one eye but we won’t know until she is older and can tell us that”. I tried to ask questions after the examination, but the doctor immediately rushed out for his next appointment (he was also rushed at our previous appointment). I really want to trust this doctor since he is so “highly regarded” in our area, but I’m just not satisfied and things don’t seem right. And off to the third opinion we go next week.


    • Ack! I would not be satisfied with those answers either, especially with the answer to her having trouble seeing with one eye. How old is your daughter?

      Are her eyes turning with her glasses on, or just when they’re off? My daughter’s did the same thing, the turning was much more noticeable with her glasses off once she was used to her glasses. I think that is pretty common, even if the explanation you were given is lacking. If her eyes are crossing with her glasses, then that’s a bigger problem.

      In any case, I definitely support going for another opinion. You’ll be seeing that doctor quite often, and no matter their reputation, you need to be comfortable with that doctor. Good luck! It’s so frustrating to have to go to so many doctors.


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