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About VisionFirst

VisionFirst is dedicated to enhancing lives through vision improvement.

Established in 1977, our practice offers a holistic approach to family vision care and visual wellness, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral, sensorimotor, neuro-rehabilitative, and learning related vision problems for all ages ranging from infants to senior citizens.

We provide Vision Therapy (VT) & Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Optimization Services

Additionally, we offer Sensory Integration oriented Occupational Therapy (OT) in the same office, and are proud to continue to be considered the gold standard of integrating these fields. For those patients who receive VT and OT through our office, our uniquely combined treatment approach facilitates optimal development and allows patients the opportunity to reach their full potential. While many of the patients we treat are children and adolescents, about half of our VT practice is comprised of adults with visual dysfunction.

A large component of the practice involves the evaluation and treatment of those with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), concussion, stroke, sensory integration dysfunction, and sensory processing issues.

VisionFirst is one of the only optometric practices that provides its patients the opportunity to receive both Optometric Vision Therapy and Sensory-Integration oriented Occupational Therapy in the same office.

Meet The Team

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD

Founder & CEO

Dr. Appelbaum is on a mission to change the way the world views vision.  He believes there is more to vision than just 20/20 eyesight and has developed programs to retrain the brain to revise the eyes.  

Dr. Appelbaum has been featured on the front page of USA Today, on CBS, in the New York Times Magazine, Bethesda Magazine, and as the cover story of OT Advance. He was the 2022 recipient of The Future of Health Award at the Mindshare Leadership Summit and has shared the stage with Dr. Joe Dispenza, Marie Forleo, and JJ Virgin. Dr. Appelbaum is a frequent podcast and media guest, having recently been interviewed on MindBodyGreen, Chris Kresser’s Revolution Health Radio, and Cynthia Thurlow’s Everyday Wellness.

Dr Appelbaum is a pioneer in neuro-optometry passionate about unlocking life’s potential through vision. His expertise includes reorganizing the visual brain post-concussion to return to learn and return to life, remediating visual developmental delays interfering with reading and learning, and enhancing visual skills to elevate sports performance. 

He is the founder and CEO of VisionFirst, with a private practice specializing in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation and offices in Bethesda and Annapolis, Maryland. He is also the founder and CEO of ScreenFit, the revolutionary online vision training program designed to minimize the damage of digital devices on vision, reduce symptoms, and promote healthy visual habits for extended screen use.

Dr. Appelbaum has worked with hundreds of professional athletes, numerous professional and collegiate sports teams, and countless amateur athletes to transform raw talent into honed performance through vision. These athletes include:
  • NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and NWSL players
  • Professional golfers, volleyball and tennis players, race car drivers
  • Olympic fencers, gymnasts, swimmers, skiers, archers, and shooters
Dr. Appelbaum also helps teams consider who to draft or sign as a free agent based on assessing a player’s visual potential and identifying how far off they may be from operating at that ceiling.  Dr. Appelbaum is a board-certified Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Southern College of Optometry. He completed his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis where he majored in psychology and pre-medical studies and graduated with clinical honors from The Illinois College of Optometry. He is certified in Corneal Refractive Therapy/Orthokeratology, a specialty contact lens approach to slowing down nearsightedness and improving eyesight as an alternative to refractive surgery.  Dr. Appelbaum is a frequent podcast and media guest often discussing:

  • The Misdiagnoses and Missed Opportunities of Vision:  Why healthcare has it all wrong about the eyes
  • The new pandemic:  Why screens are ruining our eyes
  • Is it ADD/ADHD or a Hidden Vision Problem?
  • Why eye patches and eye muscle surgery are a major disservice to your child? 
  • Why knowing the difference between eyesight and vision could change your life
  • Vision Therapy:  The missing piece to concussion recovery

VisionFirst Leadership Team

Sheila Levine

Patient Care Coordinator

Sheila has been with Appelbaum Vision and now VisionFirst since 2000 and is the scheduling coordinator, patient advocate, and general manager. She takes pride in her critical role and is passionate about making sure each family feels valued and supported in our office.

Dr. Kelsey Starman

Clinical Director of VT

Dr. Starman, OD, is passionate about helping our patients achieve their highest visual potential. She is committed to ensuring patients have a treatment plan specific to their individual needs and goals to give them the tools for being successful in all aspects of their lives.

Megan Diment

Operations Manager
Megan is dedicated to making sure that our current and future patients have everything they need to succeed. She takes care of the operating needs of our practices to make sure everything runs smoothly and you have an incredible experience with VisionFirst.

Amanda Appelbaum

Lead Health Coach
Our In-House Health Coach Amanda is an expert in optimizing nutrition, lifestyle, and behavior modification to support your vision and overall health goals. Learning how to take care of and support your body and mind is essential to maximizing your treatment. 

Book An Evaluation

Contact us now to learn how you can book a vision evaluation and get started on your journey towards optimal vision.


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Sign Up for the FastClass

Sign up to get an all access pass to the VisionFirst Fastclass with everything you need to know before embarking on your own Vision Journey. Dr. Appelbaum will walk you through common symptoms of vision challenges and how to unlock your vision potential.

Sign Up for the FastClass

Sign up to get an all access pass to the VisionFirst Fastclass with everything you need to know before embarking on your own Vision Journey. Dr. Appelbaum will walk you through common symptoms of vision challenges and how to unlock your vision potential.

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