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The first DR. STERN’S VISUAL HEALTH CENTER was established in 1971 by Sidney J. Stern, O.D., F.A.A.O., after he returned to Miami on the completion of his Doctor of Optometry curriculum at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN, and the awarding of his O.D. degree.

That office was operated as a private practice, with Dr. Stern as the only optometrist examining patients. A few years later, he opened several additional offices under the banner of DR. STERN’S VISUAL HEALTH CENTERS and, today, Dr. Stern operates 22 offices in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, including wholly owned offices, HMO-based facilities and vision-care offices in community health centers. The Practice employs approximately 100 people — not to mention, more than a few additional doctors! 

Several years ago, Dr. Stern’s daughter joined the Practice after receiving her Doctor of Optometry degree and then completing a ‘residency’ in a combined Optometry-Ophthalmology practice in South Florida. Dr. Jodi Stern now serves as the Medical Director for the DR. STERN’S VISUAL HEALTH CENTERS.

A Broad, Professional Scope

Optometry is usually the first and best place to begin when vision-care issues or questions arise, including the need for glasses. All of the doctors and staff who work in the DR. STERN’S VISUAL HEALTH CENTERS are committed to providing the best quality of care, attention, diagnosis and treatment possible. We perform comprehensive eye exams, and always recommend dilation as part of that exam (at no extra cost) to examine the inside surfaces of the eyes.

We have tremendous experience working with private patients as well as with Managed-Care members. And our practical experience includes working with children, adults and senior citizens.

In addition to private patients, the Practice is active in examining, evaluating and serving people who receive vision-care benefits through Commercial Health Plans, ‘Healthy Kids’ programs, Medicare and Medicaid. And our Doctors are Board-Certified, which gives them the knowledge and authority to diagnose and treat a specific group of pathologies affecting the eyes and to prescribe limited medications for those pathologies.

Vision-Care’s Gatekeeper Role & Responsibility

Since many illnesses in general present themselves first in the eyes, the doctor may notice something during the dilation portion to indicate a visit with a Doctor of Ophthalmology is warranted, either to rule out a possible disease affecting the eyes or to confirm and act on the diagnosis. That can allow doctors to catch those illnesses at a very early stage which, perhaps, is one of the best arguments for an annual eye exam. In those cases when a visit with an Ophthalmologist is warranted, we work closely with several Ophthalmology offices in South Florida in referring our patients and — even though we may refer a patient to an Ophthalmologist for follow-up evaluation and/or treatment — we never lose sight of our overall role and responsibility in providing the first line of care and attention for all vision-care matters affecting our patients.

That just one reason why DR. STERN’S VISUAL HEALTH CENTERS have continued to diagnose and treat many of the same patients for years, often from childhood to the senior years. Patients may come in as strangers for vision-care, but they always go out as friends.


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