Optometry: How To Choose the Right Doctor
While annual physical checkups and regular dental exams are vital aspects of caring for the body, optometry also plays an important role in maintaining overall health. Clear vision is necessary for safety and success in education, work and play. Individuals who find themselves squinting or straining to see will likely need corrective lenses to improve their eyesight. However, even those with perfect vision should still see an eye doctor on a regular basis.
The importance of scheduling annual eye exams
Eyesight often changes over time. There are several factors that can lead to changes in vision:
- Hormonal shifts
- Old age
- Diseases of the eye
- Eye fatigue, strain or injury
Because the alteration in eyesight is typically gradual, most people may not notice a problem until it becomes severe. However, in many cases, early detection and treatment can help slow and even reverse some symptoms. Scheduling an annual eye exam with an optometry professional can help detect an issue before it becomes serious.
Factors to consider when choosing an eye doctor
Finding any new physician requires a bit of research and exploration. While there are many tools available to help locate a new practice, it can be valuable to keep a few things in mind before making a final selection.
Insurance and cost
It is imperative to take a look at any current insurance plans before choosing a particular office or doctor. Some practices may not accept all types of vision insurance, especially from smaller companies. If the patient does not currently have vision insurance, it is helpful to ask about standard out-of-pocket fees for routine examinations and common treatments. Prices can vary greatly from one location to the next, even if the offices are in close proximity to one another.
Not all optometry professionals are qualified to perform the same evaluations and treatments. Opticians are certified in checking and filling prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are qualified doctors capable of performing eye exams, writing prescriptions and diagnosing diseases of the eye. An optometrist may refer a patient to an ophthalmologist for treatment of serious eye diseases or surgery, while those with relatively healthy eyes can have their needs met by an optometrist.
Patient care and overall experience
Reading online reviews and asking friends and neighbors for recommendations can help narrow down the available options. After choosing a provider, an initial appointment can help determine whether to remain with the chosen practice. Patients should take note of the condition of the office, cleanliness of the environment and friendliness of the staff. It can be prudent to ask the physician which types of advanced techniques or equipment are available at the practice. Inquiring about the general availability of the eye doctor can help determine whether scheduling appointments may be difficult on short notice.
Visiting an eye doctor on a regular basis is an essential aspect of overall health and wellness. Recommended eye exams can help detect serious issues and prevent damage or vision loss. Patients who thoroughly research available options and consider the important factors can make a more well-informed decision when choosing an optometry professional.
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