How to Choose an Eye Doctor

| October 8, 2012

optometrist  testing eye strengthVision greatly influences your quality of life. Eye problems can have consequences such as losing the ability to read, drive or work. Routine eye care is a crucial step in maintaining your sight. Not only is it important to choose the right eye doctor, you need to understand the differences among the types of eye care professionals. Read on to learn tips for choosing an eye doctor and search through DexKnows to find one in your community.

Types of eye doctors

There are two types of eye doctors, an ophthalmologist and an optometrist.

Ophthalmologists, according to WebMD.com, are eye doctors who specialize in medical and surgical care of the eyes. They are the total eye care doctors and can deliver vision services, eye exams, medical and surgical eye care, as well as diagnosis and treatment of complications caused by other conditions, including diabetes. An ophthalmologist is either a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy.

Optometrists, or eye doctors of optometry, can examine, treat and manage some diseases and disorders. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. They also can diagnose some conditions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. An optometrist, EyeDoctorGuide.com explains, cannot perform eye surgery. For more critical diseases, they may refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Make sure your eye doctor offers the services you need. If you have more serious health problems, seek out an ophthalmologist.

Credentials check

Both kinds of eye doctors should have the right credentials. Patients should be able to enter an office and see the eye doctor’s certificates and licenses, proving that the doctor is certified through an accredited medical institution and licensed by a state medical board or board of optometry. The Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry offers links to each state’s optometry board.

Experience matters

WebMD.com suggests seeking out an experienced eye doctor. This experience may help a doctor more quickly identify a problem and how to treat it. If you have a specific condition, search for a doctor experienced in treating that condition. You may also want to find a doctor certified in a specialization such as LASIK surgery, if it is something you are considering.

Technology tips

Like in any scientific field, the technology used in eye care continues to change dramatically. You want to find an eye doctor well versed in the latest technology, especially if you have a health condition such as diabetes. The eye doctor can do special tests to see whether this health condition is affecting your vision.

Money talk

Cost is a factor. If you have eye insurance, make sure to check with your provider to see what is covered. Basic eye exams are often covered, but other services may not be covered or only only partially paid for by the insurance company. For example, certain retina tests or X-rays of the back of your eyes may fall into this category. An eye insurance plan may charge a co-pay for lenses and pay up to a certain amount for frames. Also, frames may be covered only every two years. Someone working in the eye doctor’s office will be able to explain your coverage options to you.

Vision matters. Keep these tips in mind as you search for an eye doctor and don’t forget to scan through DexKnows.

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Category: Evergreen, Eye Doctors, Health & Fitness

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.