Ava K. Bittner, OD, PhD

Ava K. Bittner, OD, PhD

Primary Location
Doris Stein Eye Research Center
200 Stein Plaza Doris Stein 1st Floor
Los Angeles, California 90095


Dr. Ava Bittner received her Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry with clinical honors in pediatrics and low vision. She earned a PhD in clinical investigation from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. Bittner completed a clinical research post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute’s Lions Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center from 2002-2007, and then joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute. From 2014-2019, she held the rank of Associate Professor at the Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale.

Dr. Bittner is currently an Associate Professor at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute and her primary clinical interest is low vision rehabilitation. She is the Smotrich Family Optometric Clinician-Scientist Chair and Chief of Optometric Services at the Stein Eye Institute. Dr. Bittner's research interests include the psychophysical assessment of the healthy and diseased visual system, both to increase the understanding of this system and to develop tools to monitor disease and therapeutic outcomes. She is also experienced with the conduct of clinical trials to evaluate interventions to help improve visual function in patients with low vision. Dr. Bittner has received NIH funding (K23 and R21 awards) from the National Eye Institute, and has served as a co-investigator or consultant for multi-center clinical trials of devices or treatments for patients with retinal degenerations.



Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2007


Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PhD, 2011
Pennsylvania College of Optometry, OD, 2001

Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center


  • American Association of University Women Scholarship (1993)
  • Board of Trustees Scholarship; Rowan University (1993 - 1996)
  • E. F. Wildermuth Foundation Scholarship; Pennsylvania College of Optometry (1997)
  • Clinical Honors awarded: Internships at the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center and the Thomas Lynch Pediatric Unit at the Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA (2000); Externship at Advantage Vision Center primary careoptometry, private practice in Charlotte, NC (2001)
  • NEI Travel Grant Award; Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting (2006)
  • American Academy of Optometry, Fellowship (2009)
  • Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, Alpha chapter scholarship (2010)
  • American Academy of Optometry, Ezell Fellowship Award (2010-2011)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honorary Society (2011)
  • NIH Graduate Fellow in Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials (2011)
  • American Academy of Optometry, Diplomate in Research Low Vision (2015)
  • American Academy of Optometry, Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award (2017)
  • American Academy of Optometry, Clinical Research Award (2019)