Dr. Marsha Benshir
Dr. Marsha Benshir provides comprehensive vision care as well as vision rehabilitation and vision therapy to patients of all ages, including pediatrics and geriatrics. Dr. Benshir helps patients to improve their visual functioning and quality of life with non-surgical correction of vision problems that impact reading comprehension, learning, sports, and job performance.
As a neuro-developmental optometrist, Dr. Benshir specializes in diagnosing and treating binocular (two-eyed) vision disorders including convergence insufficiency, amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus, as well as diagnosing and treating visual problems related to congenital and acquired brain disorders, such as ADHD, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke.
Dr. Marsha Benshir provides:
- Vision Rehabilitation for Patients with Special Needs, such as Congenital or Acquired Brain Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Neurobiological and/or Pervasive Developmental Delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Stroke, Whiplash, CP, MS, etc.
- Treatment for Learning-related Vision Problems, including ADD/ADHD ((i)Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(/i), Dyslexia or Dyslexic, Reading Difficulties, and Eye Tracking Problems, etc.
- Treatment for Binocular Vision/Brain Disorders, such as Amblyopia or Lazy Eye, Convergence Insufficiency Disorder (near vision coordination deficit), Diplopia (Double Vision), Lack of Stereopsis (loss of normal binocular depth perception), and Strabismus (crossed eye or cross-eyed, wandering eye, eye turns, etc.)
- Treatment for Stress-related Visual Problems, including Blurred Vision, Visual Stress and Fatigue from Reading and Computers, Eye Strain Headaches, and/or Vision-induced Stomachaches or Motion Sickness
- Vision Therapy for All Ages, including Pediatrics, Geriatrics
- Comprehensive Eye Examinations for Children and Adults, including Infants, Preschoolers and Seniors
- Contact Lens Fitting and Follow-up, including Specialty Lenses, such as Bifocal, Disposable and Astigmatism Lenses
- Sports Vision Correction and/or Enhancement for Amateur and Professional Athletes
- Eyewear Designing and Dispensing
Marsha Davis was born in Baltimore and grew up in Montgomery County. She attended Alfred University for her undergraduate. She decided on optometry after spending 2 months working with disabled children. All the children she worked with had vision disorders that impacted not only learning but attention, communication, life skills and social interactions. Most of these children were not diagnosed or treated for their vision problems with profound repercussions on their overall development and academic progress. Marsha decided that she understood the implications of these problems and that someone had to help these children. She was offered admission to Illinois College of Optometry the following summer (before applying).
While studying at ICO Dr. Benshir was asked to start a vision therapy practice for two optometrists in Chicago. She provided testing and therapy, and founded the Vision Development Center on the near north side. The program was successful and expanded as she trained a psychologist to assist her and continue running the program after she graduated and left Chicago.
Marsha graduated Illinois College of Optometry in 1980 as Dr. Davis. She was given the Anne Pollack award for her student research, “The Oak School Project.” While still a student Dr. Benshir arranged for all of the students at Oak Therapeutic School, children who had been in first through 12th grades in the Chicago Public School system with known learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, to have comprehensive eye and vision examinations. She developed programs to provide vision therapy to all students in the school by going into classrooms twice weekly. Students with more specific vision disorders were also brought out of class for 30 minutes of 1:1 vision therapy each week. The school psychologist evaluated the students yearly and found that educational psychological testing showed the entire school population progressed at more than double the expected rate during the time they had vision therapy. Marsha was also given the OEP Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Vision Research for “The Oak School Project” before she even got her doctorate.
After graduation, Marsha started working with her father, Dr. Morton Davis, a founding member and president of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. In addition, she consulted with the audiology department at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, the D.C. public schools special education department and other programs for children and adults with special needs. Marsha provided vision screenings, reports, and classroom recommendations for students at Ivymount School from 1980 through 2002.
She became a Fellow of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association and inspires and teaches other professionals with interest in vision rehabilitation. In addition to her private practice she is on staff at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital in Rockville, Maryland; MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Dr. Amber Smith
Dr. Amber Smith graduated from the New England College of Optometry in Boston, Massachusetts in 2020 and attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio and George Mason University in Virginia for her undergraduate studies.
Before attending optometry school, she showed an interest in how optometry can be used to help those with visual dysfunction from traumatic brain injury. This interest led her to meet Dr. Marsha Benshir. Since meeting, Dr. Benshir has mentored Dr. Smith through the four years of optometry school and helped supplement her studies in behavioral optometry and binocular visual dysfunctions.
During optometry school, Dr. Smith pursued clinical assignments and attended conferences on behavior vision, vision therapy, and neuro-optometric rehabilitation. She was also a member of the College of Vision Development (COVD) club as well as the president of the Neuro-optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) club. Since graduation, she is now a member of both the COVD and NORA at the national level and is pursuing a fellowship in both organizations. Dr. Smith is also pursuing additional training through the Optometric Extension Program Foundation for vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatments and procedures. Her early interest in these fields has only been strengthened with further study, and now Dr. Smith is excited to be joining the Center for Vision Development in the Fall of 2020.
Dr. Smith brings with her experience in new technologies for the treatment and management of many optometric disorders and diseases. She plans to find creative ways to improve care, efficiency, and communication with patients with the help of this technology. Dr. Smith also brings with her five years of optometry practice management experience in both private and corporate settings and six additional years of management experience in various other settings.
In her free time, Dr. Smith enjoys reading, writing, drawing, sewing, and kayaking with her husband. She is also looking forward to making new connections with medical professionals in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.