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How to Find the Best Eye Doctor

the best eye doctor and eye exam machines

When life gives you challenges what do you do? Take them on one at a time, right? Finding the best eye doctor for your needs is one of those challenges. Seeing as over 60% of people wear either glasses or contact lenses, this shouldn’t be so hard, right? Wrong!

Your eyesight might be changing. Or, maybe you want contacts to switch up your eye color. You'll need to make an appointment with an eye doctor.

So, what are the things that you need to look for before you book an eye exam? How can you be sure that you're meeting with the right type of eye doctor? Keep reading to find out.

Understand the Type of Doctor You Need

The first thing that you need to remember when you're on the hunt for the best eye doctor?

You need to be certain that you're meeting with a specialist that can actually treat the issue at hand. Many people aren't aware that there are two different types of eye doctors.

Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist

An optometrist is an eye doctor who can conduct vision tests and more general eye exams. If you need glasses or information about contact lenses, an optometrist is your best bet.

The vast majority of those seeking eye care need to see an optometrist. The optometrist has the training to diagnose certain kinds of eye diseases and conditions. But, for more serious eye issues, you'll need to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

An ophthalmologist has the medical training to prescribe medications. He or she can diagnose and treat all eye diseases, and perform surgery on your eyes.

The ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma, problems with the retina, and in some cases, even perform pediatric eye care. Make sure to choose your doctor based on the specific issue you are having.

An optometrist has a Doctor of Optometry and has completed four years of schooling, while an ophthalmologist is actually an Eye M.D.

Get a Referral From Your Doctor

doctor giving referral

Of course, depending on the severity of the eye issue, you may end up needing specialized care. If vision problems are interfering with your day to day life, you’ll want fast relief.

Even if you don’t need surgery, it might be a good idea to go to a specialist. So, if time is of the essence, get in touch with your primary care doctor.

They will be able to help you get an appointment with the right eye doctor in your area. Plus, having a referral from your family doctor can help hurry the process along.

You can even go to an urgent care center in your area. See if they can help you get an appointment with an eye care specialist as soon as possible.

Ask for Patient References

Regardless of your needs, it might be a good idea to get some patient references from your new eye doctor. Talking to people that have been in your situation can bring lots of benefits.

This will help you to reach an unbiased opinion about the level of care you can expect to receive. You can ask these past references if the doctor was on time, whether the appointment felt rushed, and even questions about medical billing.

You'll also get a feel for whether these patients’ problems were well taken care of. Ask them if they would feel comfortable recommending this doctor to you.

Be sure to ask the eye specialist to connect you to patients that have had similar issues to yours.

Schedule a Consultation

doctor and patient consultation

Of course, experience is king! To truly decide whether you've found the best eye doctor, nothing can help you to make the right choice like meeting with them in person.

You'll be able to ask the doctor questions about your insurance coverage. Ask how your quality of life will improve after getting contacts, glasses, or even corrective eye surgery.

You will also have the chance to ask them about how they continue their professional training. Do they attend conferences in the field, submit to journals relating to eye care, or speak at other events in the area?

Did you feel like you were getting the kind of care that you needed? Was the doctor able to explain the pros and cons of potential procedures or prescriptions to you? Above all, did you feel like you were a priority, and did the doctor's bedside manner mesh well with you?

These are all pertinent questions. See if you can think of more questions to ask your new doctor. Jot them down and take them with you for your next appointment. If you’re not getting the answers you need thank them for their time and move on. You deserve only the highest level of care. Don’t waste your time!

How to Find the Best Eye Doctor: Final Thoughts

eye doctor giving choice between glasses and contact lenses

The right doctor will be able to tell you exactly what you need to correct your vision. Whether it’s glasses or contact lenses, they’ll nudge you in the right direction.

Your eye doctor can also help you choose the right contacts for your eyes. But first, make sure you schedule an eye exam.

Also, taking a look at the wide range of brands, strengths, and types of lenses available is a good start. Make a note of what lenses interest you and ask your doctor about your options.

We hope that this post has helped you figure out how to find the best eye doctor in your area. Look at qualifications and at how the doctor is keeping up to date with medical trends. How they treat you is also a very important factor. Don’t ignore your gut if the doctor is not a good fit! And remember to always look at the doctor’s level of expertise.

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