Having regular eye exams is an important part of maintaining good eye health, but in order to have regular eye exams you need to find an eye doctor. There are so many of them to choose from that the process may feel a bit overwhelming, so how do you choose the right eye doctor?
Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist
The first step in choosing the right eye doctor is to understand the difference between the different types of eye doctors. An optometrist specializes in diagnosing and treating vision problem and some eye conditions. They are able to prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, vision therapy, low vision aids, and they can provide eye care before and after eye surgery. Some optometrists are also able to perform certain kinds of laser surgery.
An ophthalmologist specializes in providing treatments for eye injuries and diseases. They are able to perform eye surgeries such as removing cataracts, repairing retinal detachments, and performing lens implants and LASIK surgeries. They also have the ability to prescribe medications. A lot of ophthalmologists also perform eye exams and prescribe eye glasses and contacts.
If you don’t have any known eye diseases or conditions and just need to have regular exams performed due to vision problems then an optometrist would be the choice for you. If you do have eye conditions or diseases, you will probably want to see an ophthalmologist. Keep in mind if you do go to an optometrist and they discover serious eye issues, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
Once you know which type of eye doctor you need to see, you can begin your search for the right eye doctor by following the suggestions given below.
Check with Your Insurance Plan
You can contact your insurance company and get a list of the eye doctors that are covered under your plan. There will probably still be a large number of eye doctors to choose from so you will need to narrow down your choices even further.
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Talk with your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers to see which eye doctors they’ve used and liked. Since most eye doctors accept a wide range of insurance plans, someone is likely to recommend a few that accept your insurance.
Research the Eye Doctors
Once you’ve received a few recommendations, you should do a little bit of research on those eye doctors such as checking to see if they’ve ever been accused of malpractice, verifying their credentials, and checking to see what areas of eye care they specialize in such as pediatrics, glaucoma, LASIK, etc.
Since some eye doctors are more experienced in certain areas of eye care, you want to make sure the eye doctor you go to has the ability to thoroughly take care of your eye health. For instance, if you’re looking for an eye doctor for your young child, make sure the doctor you choose has a lot of experience treating kids and is comfortable doing so.
Check out Their office
Another thing you can do to ensure you choose the right eye doctor is to actually go to the eye doctor’s office and check things out in person. When you first walk in to the office are you greeted by someone and are they friendly? Or do they seem rushed, rude, or ignore your presence altogether? Pay attention to how they communicate with other patients who may be trying on glasses or asking questions.
Ask to actually speak to the eye doctor and have a list of questions ready to ask him or her. Look closely at how the doctor responds to your questions, how thoroughly he or she answers them. Does the doctor make eye contact with you or does it seem like there are other things on the doctor’s mind and answering your questions are getting in the way of something more important?
While you’re in the office, look around and see if the doctor has any of their diplomas or licenses on display on the walls and look them over. Most doctors frame these types of things and hang them on the walls in their offices, so you should be able to find at least one.
Have an Exam
If you feel comfortable with everything you observe while in the office and with everything you’ve heard about this particular doctor, then go ahead and schedule an eye exam. During the exam, you will be able to get an even better idea of whether this is the right doctor for you or not.
Make sure the doctor takes their time to do a thorough exam, meaning it should last more than a few minutes. If an eye or vision problem is discovered during your exam, take note of how much time the doctor takes in talking to you about it. Or if you have any questions for him about the exam, see how thoroughly he answers your questions.
If you aren’t happy with your experience during the exam, then you will know that you need to keep searching for the right doctor. If you were satisfied with how the doctor handled the exam and answered your questions, then you may have found the right eye doctor for you and you can mark that task off your list of important things to do.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Aside from having your eyes checked regularly to ensure your eye health is good, there are things you can do on a daily basis to improve your eye health such as making sure you get the necessary vitamins and nutrients that promote good eye health and vision.
There are a lot of foods you can eat that contain these nutrients and vitamins, as well as supplements you can take, such as our Ocu-Plus Formula, that will help to reduce the risks of developing various eye and vision disorders and diseases.