Optometrists who provide vision therapy services have varying credentials

What are the different credentials of Doctors who offer Optometric Vision Therapy services?

  • Doctor of Optometry (OD) – Doctor of Optometry Degree
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) – Fellows of the Academy are evaluated against the highest standards of professional competence and must complete a candidacy process that includes submitting written work demonstrating their skills as an optometrist and sitting for an oral exam at the Annual Meeting of the Academy. About 10% of practicing optometrists in the United States are Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry.
  • Board Certification in Vision Development and Vision Therapy (FCOVD) – Optometrists who successfully complete their certification process are board certified and are designated Fellows of COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision development). The COVD Fellow certification process serves to identify doctors of optometry who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art clinical services in behavioral and developmental vision care, optometric vision therapy and vision rehabilitation. In 2015, there are 11 practicing optometrists in the state of Texas who are FCOVD.
  • Fellow of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (FNORA) – The NORA Fellowship program is typically a 2 to 5 year skills development process that involves coursework, conferences, passing a written test, case studies, presentations and being published. Currently, there are only twenty one (21) FNORA professionals in the United States.
  • A Residency Vision Therapy Certification – certification is earned after the successful completion of the vision therapy residency program. A residency and certification in vision therapy can be earned from a select number of Schools of Optometry. Acceptance into a Residency program is limited and highly competitive.

What is the significance of a Residency in Vision Therapy?
The post-doctorate Vision Therapy Residency program is typically one year in duration to complete certification. A doctor of optometry in Residency spends a minimum of 50 hours a week obtaining additional training, knowledge and expertise in the specialized field of optometric vision therapy and rehabilitation. Vision Therapy Residency programs entail extensive clinical experience in optometric vision therapy and pediatric eye care, including infants and children with special needs. The programs also require active involvement in research, lectures and teaching. Individuals who successfully achieve residency certification in Vision Therapy serve as experts and leaders in the field of Vision Therapy and Binocular Vision. Doctors of Optometry are not required to fulfill a residency program prior to practicing their profession; a key factor in the limited number (less than 1%) of optometrists nationwide achieving a Residency Certification.

What is a Developmental Optometrist?
A developmental optometrist is an optometrist who specializes and provides services related to visual skills and visual function. This optometrist may or may not be AAO Certified (FAAO), COVD board certified (FCOVD), a Fellow of NORA (FNORA) or certified in the completion of a Residency in vision therapy and rehabilitation.

What is a Neuro Developmental Optometrist?
A neuro developmental optometrist is a developmental optometrist who has successfully completed coursework, research, case studies, conferences and being published in the field of neuro optometric rehabilitation (a 2 to 5 – year program). A typical certification is being designated a Fellow of the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association (FNORA), a recognition of a professional’s highest level of competence in clinical abilities and scientific knowledge in the field of Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation.