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How to find the right optometrist for your special needs child

Optometrists for special needs: How to find the right one

Updated: August 4, 2023 · 3 Minute Read

Jeryn Cambrah

Reviewed by:

Jeryn Cambrah


  • Make sure to research all your options. Visit the office in person, talk to the staff, talk to other parents, and read online reviews.
  • It’s important to select an optometrist that both you and your child feel comfortable with. The office, the staff, and the doctor are all important factors to consider.
  • Review your health insurance policy and check with the optometrist’s office before visiting to avoid unexpected costs.

Did you know that up to 25% of children struggle with reading and other learning problems due to an undiagnosed vision problem? And that statistic may be even higher for special needs children.1


Whether you think your child may have a vision problem or it’s time for a check-up, we’re here to help you find the perfect optometrist!


How to find the perfect optometrist for your child

Finding the right optometrist for your child can take time and patience. Here are our tips to help you along the way:

  • Do your homework. Research is key when it comes to finding the right optometrist for your child. Look for recommendations from trusted sources. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, therapists, and ask other parents. You can also use the Beaming Health Directory to find optometrists in your area!
  • Seek expertise. If you can, choose a doctor with experience working with children with diverse needs. You can ask potential providers things like, “Have you ever worked with an autistic child before?” or “How do you accommodate patients who have difficulty sitting still?”
  • Consider communication and patience. It’s important to find an optometrist who is patient, empathetic, and communicates well with children. Special needs kids may have unique challenges when it comes to eye exams and expressing their needs. A compassionate and understanding optometrist can make a world of difference in creating a comfortable environment for your child.
  • Check the office environment. Pay attention to the atmosphere of the optometrist’s office. Is it child-friendly? Does it have a welcoming and inclusive environment? A space that caters to the needs of children with sensory-friendly waiting areas and a wide range of age-appropriate toys can help put your child at ease during visits.
  • Ask about specialized equipment and techniques. Ask about specialized equipment they use for special needs children. This can include tools to assess visual acuity, eye tracking, and coordination. How can they accommodate children with physical or cognitive challenges?
  • Is the office accessible? Ensure that the optometrist’s office is accessible for your child’s specific needs. Consider factors such as wheelchair accessibility, proximity to public transportation, and parking facilities. Finding a location that minimizes any extra stress or logistical hurdles is important.
  • Trust your instincts. Last but not least, trust your parental instincts. If you meet with an optometrist and something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion. Your child’s eye health and comfort should always be the top priority. Finding the right optometrist is a significant step toward achieving that goal.


Eye care and insurance

Eye care coverage can vary and will depend on your specific insurance plan. Not all insurance policies cover eye care. Review your insurance plan to understand what optometrists and services are covered and contact the optometrist’s office to confirm whether they accept your insurance.



Remember, finding the perfect optometrist for your special needs child is a process that takes time and research. By following these tips you can ensure that their eye care needs are met with professionalism, expertise, and compassion.


And be sure to click here to learn how to prepare your child for their next eye exam!

Article References

  1. Lazarus, R. Vision and Special Needs. Optometrists Network. Published March 29, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  2. Bellante, S. What Kind of Eye Doctor Should My Child See? Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Published Oct. 22, 2019. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  3. Choosing an Eye Doctor for Your Child. Pathways. Accessed June 8, 2023.