It is always important to take special care when choosing a doctor for your child. However, it may be even more important when looking for a pediatric eye doctor, since many children are very sensitive to having their eyes examined. Fortunately, there are several pediatric ophthalmology practices in Grand Rapids to help you choose the one that is right for your child. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you pick the best doctor. Do You Really Need an Ophthalmologist? Depending upon your child’s needs, you may actually be looking for an optometrist, rather than an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who can perform surgery and treat diseases of the eye in addition to performing vision tests and prescribing corrective lenses. If your child only needs to have his or her vision checked, an optometrist works just as well as an ophthalmologist, giving you a wider range of choices in doctors. Some optometrists are “developmental” optometrists, which means they specialize in how vision problems affect development. If your child is having trouble reading, for example, he or she might be referred to a developmental optometrist since these doctors often offer vision therapy and work with issues like eyes that do not work together properly. Will a Family Practice Work For You? There are both pediatric optometrists and pediatric ophthalmology practices in Grand Rapids. However, if you choose a pediatric doctor, your entire family will not be able to visit the same practice. Sometimes, being able to visit the same doctor as mom and dad gives a child all the comfort he or she needs about visiting a new doctor; so choosing a pediatric specialist may not be necessary. This is especially true if your child has no special issues that may require a pediatric specialist. Just be sure that any doctor your child visits does have experience working with children. What are the Qualifications of the Pediatric Ophthalmologist? All ophthalmologists are trained in children’s eye disorders. However, pediatric ophthalmologists receive additional training in examining children, as well as in the conditions that most often affect children. These doctors have additional training in the neurological development of vision in children, as well as how other diseases, like pediatric diabetes can affect a child’s vision. If your child has a serious eye condition or disease, this is likely the right doctor for you. As you work through choosing the right doctor for your child’s eye care, answering these questions should help you to determine the best health care professional to ensure your child gets the best treatment available in an atmosphere that feels comfortable and...