What to Consider When Choosing an Eye Doctor
Selecting your eye doctor is equally important as choosing your GP. Your eyes do not only let you see the world around you, but they also let the world see into your general health. With your eyes being a vital part of your day-to-day life, your choice of an eye doctor must not be taken taken for granted. After all, there are many options out there, and they are hardly all the same. There are concrete issues you need to look into before making a decision.
First of all, remember that there are two types of eye experts: optometrists and ophthalmologists. Optometrists can treat certain eye diseases and prescribe drugs but they do not perform eye surgery. Becoming an optometrist requires a bachelor’s degree, another four years of further education in an optometry school, and completion of programs that specialize in specific kinds of eye disease.
On the other hand, ophthalmologists can treat all types of eye diseases and conditions, prescribe medication, as well as perform eye surgery. Becoming an ophthalmologist calls for college, four years of medical school, and another four more years in a medical residency program. There are some ophthalmologists who even continue studying after residency if they want to specialize in certain sub-fields. However, this is not a requirement for becoming an ophthalmologist.
The question now is, who is right for you? Should you see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist? If you’re planning on getting a general eye exam, you can see either an optometrist or ophthalmologist. However, if you have a more serious eye disease, you might be better off seeing an ophthalmologist for ongoing care, depending on your case. If you’re looking to fit contact lenses or eyeglasses, for example, optometrists are your better option.
In any case, it is crucial to consider availability when choosing an eye doctor. When considering seeing an optometrist, find out whether the practice you’re eyeing offers evening and weekend business hours, or any hours that may fit your schedule. If you require long-term disease management, remember that evening and weekend appointments are unlikely with medical doctors. But of course, you can always count on them for emergencies.
Another factor to consider is how hard or easy it is to get an appointment with your eye doctor. Popular practices often triage patients according to the urgency of their needs. Remember that most reputable doctors get booked up two to three weeks ahead, but again, if your case is an emergency, you will be seen as soon as possible.
As you can see, choosing an eye doctor is mainly about research. You can start by asking friends, relatives or colleagues for recommendations. You can also look up local prospects online and read reviews, but make sure to stick to independent and trusted consumer websites. A lot of reviews on the Internet are biased, if not totally made up, so you’d like a third-party site that will probably offer real and objective testimonials.
Lastly, when deciding to go with a certain eye doctor, look for personal chemistry. You may think this isn’t important but it is. You don’t want to be switching practices every time you need professional eye care.