The Complete Guide to Choosing an Eye Doctor: Everything to Know
A National Institutes of Health study has discovered that 94% of Americans above the age of twelve have good vision. However, that same study found that the remaining 14 million people have visual impairments. Millions of those have uncorrected impairments, like nearsightedness.
Maybe you face one of these visual impairments and want to seek treatment. If so, the first step is choosing an eye doctor.
Eye doctors are the experts in improving eye health. They can diagnose your vision impairment and help you find the best treatments.
However, you may have many options for eye doctors in your area. So, how can you choose the best one to care for your vision?
Making this decision requires several considerations. We’ll outline these considerations to help you make the best decision!
Get a Referral Before Choosing an Eye Doctor
There are two primary types of eye doctors. First, there are optometrists. These professionals give eye exams, prescribe glasses and contacts, and treat eye conditions.
Second, there are ophthalmologists. These medical doctors specialize in more complex eye conditions, including surgery. Usually, the kind of eye doctor you’ll see is an optometrist.
Ideally, you can always ask your primary care physician for their recommendations. Doctors usually have relationships with at least one local optometrist. Once you describe your visual issues, the doctor can recommend an optometrist to assist you.
In extreme cases, a doctor may refer you directly to an ophthalmologist. However, this is a rare scenario.
Reading Patient Reviews
As the saying goes, there’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion. Your doctor can identify an optometrist with the right skills to treat eye conditions. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this optometrist is the best fit for your situation.
Several other factors contribute to making the best eye doctor. For example, does this optometrist treat their patients courteously? Do they explain things in a way you can understand?
Doctors may not know as much about this side of an optometrist. Fortunately, that eye doctor’s patients can answer these questions.
In fact, they’ve likely done so online! Like restaurants and stores, eye doctor clinics often have online reviews that you can read.
So, search the web to see what other patients say about this eye doctor. If the reviews seem favorable, move on to the next step!
Ensure They’re a Licensed Eye Doctor
This step is more of a formality, especially if you’ve received a doctor’s recommendation. However, it helps to know whether your optometrist has the necessary licensure to practice eye medicine.
As a minimum, eye doctors must have the following qualifications:
- four year Doctor of Optometry degree
- four years of undergraduate college
However, these aren’t the only factors to consider. Instead, research to determine whether these doctors have any black marks on their records.
Are there any malpractice claims against them? Have they ever undergone disciplinary actions because of a malpractice charge?
Also, investigate whether they’ve continued their education since beginning their practice. Does the doctor have additional certifications beyond the prerequisites? Have they received further training?
You can usually find the answers to these questions online. State boards often include this information.
Consider Your Eye Doctor’s Experience
Experience is a crucial qualification in the medical field. A young professional just out of medical school won’t have the hands-on experience that a seasoned eye doctor has.
This experience matters when treating such vital organs as your eyes. The last thing you want is to hear that the doctor doesn’t know what’s affecting your vision.
An inexperienced eye doctor could also misdiagnose your condition. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis could have severe consequences later.
So, ask your eye doctor’s office what conditions they’ve treated in the past. Have they ever treated your specific eye condition?
Also, some states allow optometrists to perform limited eye procedures. One example of this is LASIK eye surgery.
If you need eye surgery, ask your eye doctor how many of them they’ve performed. Consider asking whether they’ve faced complications during an operation as well. Depending on your condition, you may have higher risk rates for complications.
Evaluate Customer Service
Another factor to consider is your optometrist’s customer service. Is it easy to schedule your eye doctor appointment? Or, does it seem impossible to reach their office?
Similarly, does the office staff treat you politely? Do they welcome questions and provide satisfactory answers?
Finally, how does your eye doctor treat you? Do they seem interested in getting to know you?
Eye doctors should treat you as an individual with personal needs and hopes. The best optometrists won’t see you as just another patient.
Another factor of customer service to consider is your health independence. Does this office make it easy for you to take control of your eye health?
To that end, it helps to learn if they use a patient portal system. Patient portals offer several services to improve your customer service.
For example, these portals include instant messaging systems so you can contact your optometrist directly. They often give you direct access to test results and other crucial medical information.
Do They Accept Your Insurance?
Another critical factor to consider is whether this office accepts your insurance. Otherwise, you could pay significantly more for your eye doctor services.
Also, consider whether your insurance covers the specific eye doctor services you require. For example, some insurance policies may not cover LASIK eye surgery. If so, consider how you can pay for these services.
Schedule an Appointment
These considerations make choosing an eye doctor manageable. All that’s left is to put them to the test. Use this information to find the best optometrist near you!
If you live in Cedar Park, Texas, the results could lead you to us! Our optometrists have practiced medicine for several years. We have the experience you need when searching for the best eye treatment.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards improving your vision, don’t hesitate! Schedule an appointment with us today.