Skip to Content

Deborah Orel-Bixler, OD, PhD, FAAO

Dr. Orel-Bixler.

Professor of Clinical Optometry and Vision Science

School of Optometry

Research Area
Clinical Science


(510) 642-4221


Chief, Infant Toddler Clinic
Chief, SVACH Clinic


Optometry 240. Diagnosis and Treatment of Sensory/Motor Anomalities
Diagnosis and treatment of heterophoria, accommodative, vergence and oculomotor anomalies including sensory anomalies and amblyopia; rationale and methods for treatment with lenses, prism, occlusion, and vision training; design and implementation of treatment programs.

Vision Science 215. Infant Vision
Development of the eye and the visual system; normal development of the eye, retina, and central visual pathways; effects of visual deprivation; assessment of optical and visual function in human infants; refraction and refractive error in infants and children; development of visuomotor function, spatial vision, color vision, binocular vision, and depth perception.

Optometry 441A-C. Specialty Clinics
Examination, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and management of patients in Infant-Toddler Clinic.

Residency Program

Chief Mentor, Infant Toddler Specialty

Sensory-motor aspects of visual development in infants and children; optometric care and management of the pediatric population; training in vision screening, visual evaluation, monocular and binocular sensory processes, optics, binocular vision, cognition, and motor development; diagnosis and management of anomalies of binocular vision and assessment of vision function in the normal and multi-handicapped pediatric population, using electrodiagnostic techniques (visual evoked potentials) and behavioral analysis of visual functions such as preferential looking techniques. See Infant Toddler Residency.

Research Interests

Assessment of visual abilities in infants, children and special-needs population; visual evoked potentials; vision screening; and photorefraction

VIP: Vision in Preschoolers Study

Director of the VIP clinical center at the UCB School of Optometry
This study is a multi-phased, multi-center, interdisciplinary, clinical study whose purpose is to evaluate the accuracy of screening tests used to identify preschool-aged children in need of further evaluation for vision disorders. The primary goal of the VIP Study is to determine whether there are tests or combinations of tests that can be used effectively to determine which preschoolers would benefit from a comprehensive eye examination to detect amblyopia, strabismus, significant refractive errors, and associated risk factors.

The VIP study was profiled in an article titled “New guidelines urge better vision tests for preschoolers” in USA Today, June 10, 2004.

For more about the study, see VIP at the website of the National Eye Institute.

Selected Publications

Orel-Bixler DA and Norcia AM: Differential growth of acuity for steady-state pattern reversal and transient pattern onset-offset VEPs. Clin Vision Sci 2: 1-9, 1987.

Day SH, Orel-Bixler DA and Norcia AM: Abnormal acuity development in infantile esotropia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 29: 327-329, 1988.

Orel-Bixler DA. Subjective and Visual Evoked Potential measures of acuity in normal and amblyopic adults and children. Dissertation. University of California at Berkeley, 1989

Orel-Bixler DA, Haegerstrom-Portnoy G and Hall AP: Visual assessment of the multiply handicapped. Optometry Vis Sci 66:530-536, 1989.

Hall AJ, Orel-Bixler DA and Haegerstrom-Portnoy G: Special visual assessment techniques for the multihandicapped. J. Vis. Impairm. Blindn, Jan: 23, 1991.

Norcia AM, Garcia H, Humphrey R, Holmes A, Hamer RD and Orel-Bixler D: Anomalous motion VEPs in infants and in infantile esotropia. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci 32: 436-39, 1991

Hamer RD, Norcia AM, Orel-Bixler D, and Hoyt CS. Motion VEPs in late-onset esotropia. Clin Vision Sci 8: 55-62, 1993.

Orel-Bixler D, Haegerstrom-Portnoy G. Acuity development in autosomal recessive achromatopsia, in Vision Science and its Applications, 1994 Technical Digest Series, Vol 2 (Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 1994), pp. 348-351.

Norcia AM, Hamer RD, Jampolsky A, Orel-Bixler D. Plasticity of motion processing mechanisms following surgery for infantile esotropia. Vision Res 35: 3279-96; 1995.

Orel-Bixler D. Vision Assessment for infants (birth to 2 years) with severe and multiple disabilities. In Chen D (ed.) Effective Practices in Early Intervention: Infants whose multiple disabilities include both vision and hearing loss. Manual. Cal State Northridge, 1997, pp 83-116.

Chen D, Orel-Bixler DA. Vision Tests for Infants (Video and booklet) New York: American Foundation for the Blind Press, 1997.

Ciner EB, Schmidt PP, Orel-Bixler D, et al. Vision Screening of Preschool Children: Evaluating the Past, Looking Toward the Future. Optom & Vis Sci 75: 571-584; 1998.

Ciner EB, Dobson V, Schmidt PP, … Orel-Bixler D and Schultz J. A survey of vision screening policy of preschool children in the United States. Surv Ophthalmology 43:445-457; 1999.

Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. Visual acuity results in school-aged children and adults: Lea symbols chart versus Bailey-Lovie chart. Optom Vis Sci 2003;80:650-4.

Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. Threshold visual acuity testing of preschool children using the crowded HOTV acuity test and the Lea symbols acuity test. J AAPOS 2003;7:396-399.

Schmidt PP for the Vision in Preschoolers Study Group. Testability of preschoolers on stereotests used to screen vision disorders. Optom Vis Sci. 2003:80:753-757.

Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. Comparison of preschool vision screening tests as administered by licensed eyecare professionals in the Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) study. Ophthalmology2004;111:637-650.

Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. Preschool visual acuity screening with HOTV and Lea symbols: testability and between-test agreement. Optom Vis Sci 2004; 81:678-83.

Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group. The electronic visual acuity tester: Testability in preschool children. Optom Vis Sci2004;81:238-244.

Chapters in Books

Orel-Bixler D. Electrodiagnostics, Ultrasound, Neuroimaging and Photoscreening. In Moore B (ed). Eye Care of the Infant and Young Child. Butterworth-Heinemann, Newton, MA; 1997, pp 89-122.

Orel-Bixler, D. Clinical Vision Assessments for Infants. In Chen D. Essential Elements in Early Intervention: Visual Impairment and Multiple Disabilities. American Foundation for the Blind Press: New York, New York; 1999, pp. 107-156.

Orel-Bixler, D. Postnatal Human Visual Development. In Norton T, Corliss D, Bailey J (eds.) The Psychophysical Measurement of Visual Function. Butterworth-Heinemann. Woburn, MA; 2002, pp.289-308.

Orel-Bixler, D. Vision Problems: Impairment to Blindness. In Rudolph CD, Rudolph AM (eds.) Rudolph’s Pediatrics 21st edition. McGraw Hill: New York, New York; 2002, pp. 489-498.