Eye care for children with autism

One in 59 children is estimated to have autism spectrum disorder by the age of eight, according to the CDC. People with ASD are neuro-divergent, meaning that their style of social interaction, communication, development, and learning may differ significantly from their peers. Children on the spectrum can benefit greatly from developmental eye care.

Eye care for children with autism in Bellflower


Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

Numerous studies demonstrate that neuro-diverse children, and children on the spectrum specifically have a higher incidence of developmental vision problems such as strabismus, convergence, accommodation, stereopsis, and oculomotor function. It is therefore extremely important to schedule a developmental eye exam to assess the full scope of visual processes. 

Early detection and treatment of visual deficits in children with autism improves their educational and occupational opportunities.

Are you looking for an optometrist near you who is sensitive and knowledgeable about helping the neuro-diverse community? We welcome you to schedule a developmental eye exam at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach. Our optometrists have extensive experience, the latest technology, advanced treatments, and a neuro-diverse friendly approach to provide advanced care to patients with ASD, Downs, Cerebral Palsy, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and all members of the neuro-diverse community. Parents visit us from Bellflower and the surrounding communities. To schedule a developmental eye exam call us at (562) 925-6591 or Book an Appointment .

This article was originally written by Dr. Carl Garbus of Amplify EyeCare Santa Clarita and published by the American Optometric Association.

Why do children with autism need optometric care from an eyecare professional?

There is so much that eye doctors can do to help children with developmental disabilities. Eye doctors can play an important role in exposing and presenting this information to parents, as many don't realize that a child with learning problems needs a visual examination.

Approximately 70% to 80% of what we learn is through our visual system. If a child is having difficulty learning, there may be a visual disconnect or a poor integration with auditory and vestibular systems. Through proper vision therapy, visual, auditory, and vestibular systems work together more efficiently, and this facilitates learning. Occupational therapy and optometric vision rehabilitation can improve the functioning of autistic children significantly. The therapy program emphasizes multi-sensory stimulation.

Sensory overload can be a challenge for children on the autism spectrum as well as doctors of optometry. They must be taken care of at an optometry practice.

Why do children with autism need optometric care from an eyecare professional?
Why do children with autism need optometric care from an eyecare professional?

Why do children with autism need optometric care from an eyecare professional?

  • A child with autism may have limited interests, making it difficult to engage them in some learning activities.
  • Developmental delays are also common among children with autism. A delay can interfere with memory, communication, coordination, logic, and the ability to perform simple tasks independently.
  • Autism can also lead to problems with language development and speech delays, which is one of the first signs of autism.
  • It is common for children with autism to lack focus and find it difficult to concentrate at school.
  • They may have difficulty communicating non-verbally and therefore, struggle with making eye contact, expressing facial expressions, using body language, moving and touching.
Why do children with autism need optometric care from an eyecare professional?

How do we provide eye care for children with autism at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach?

Start by earning the patient's trust

Children with autism are afraid of doctors and do not want to go to them. Therefore, you should bring toys, books, games, whatever your child enjoys, to the evaluation. The exam room is child-friendly, with a variety of toys and videos to occupy and soothe children. It provides our eye doctor with an opportunity to observe their behavior as they play with whatever object they are interested in.

Ensure that the evaluation is conducted in a relaxed environment

Such children may be sensitive to bright light and other things. Therefore, we do not do our evaluation in a hurry. We take time to understand the child's needs and make appropriate modifications to meet them.

What tests are important in an eye exam for children with autism?

  • Lang Stereo Test
  • Child fixation targets that flash, make sounds and move 
  • The Hirschberg test
  • The Bruckner test
  • Use skiascopy bars to perform retinoscopy

Learn more about the patient's history

We try to learn about the patient's history. By sending a questionnaire to the parents early, we try to obtain the necessary information before the appointment. Because parents are the ones who spend the most time with their child. In that questionnaire, parents are asked to fill out an extensive symptoms checklist. Below are some examples of questions that could be included in the questionnaire:

  • What does your child eat throughout the day?
  • Do they have a special diet?
  • Do they suffer from light sensitivity? 
  • Do they squint while reading?

Collaborate with other health care providers

We also inquire about the child’s pediatrician and what types of treatments the child is currently receiving. We also collaborate with other health care providers, including occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists, in order to better understand the child's behavior and provide better care.

Common Questions

It may be helpful to prepare the child for the eye exam in advance by explaining the process and letting them know what to expect. Using visual supports, such as pictures or videos, may also be helpful in preparing the child for the exam. If your child is on the spectrum and is experiencing vision problems or displaying signs that there may be an undiagnosed vision issue, call us to schedule an evaluation today at (562) 925-6591. We are proud to be a leading provider of advanced eye care for neuro diverse patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.
Autism can affect vision and eye health in a number of ways. Some individuals with ASD may experience vision problems, including difficulty with eye tracking, eye teaming, and visual processing. They may also be sensitive to light or glare, or have difficulty with visual perception. It is important for individuals with ASD to receive regular eye exams to ensure that any vision problems are identified and treated as necessary. If your child has autism and is experiencing vision problems, call us to schedule an evaluation today at (562) 925-6591. We are proud to be a leading provider of advanced eye care conveniently located in Bellflower.
Eye care for children with autism
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Looking for an eye doctor near you for a child with Autism?

Many parents are not aware that children with autism suffer from learning problems and need a developmental eye exam with our eye doctor. About 70-80% of what we learn is through our vision. Problems with their vision will affect their ability to read and comprehend. Through vision therapy, it is possible to improve the learning of children with special needs. To schedule a developmental eye exam for your child, please call (562) 925-6591. Patients with developmental vision issues visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of pediatric and developmental vision services for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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