Are you struggling with blurry vision or eye pain? Whether you are experiencing eye problems or need a routine eye exam, partnering with the right eye doctor is crucial.
If you have searched for an eye doctor before, you know that the process can sometimes be a challenge. No matter how much time you spend online reading reviews and checking credentials, researching eye doctors can be as challenging as seeing through murky water.
Luckily, there are some ways to make choosing an eye doctor much easier. Read on to find out what makes a good ophthalmologist, and learn how to determine which one is right for you.
The Importance of Proper Eye Care
Sight is one of the most important senses; most of what you perceive each day is first processed through your eyes. Unfortunately, vision problems are extremely common, with over eleven million Americans needing some form of vision correction in their lifetime.
If you are having trouble seeing or think you may be experiencing another issue with your eyesight, it is crucial to see an eye doctor immediately. However, even if you do not have any noticeable eye problems, regular checkups are just as important to maintain proper eye care.
Many eye diseases or other conditions have few or no symptoms at first and can remain undetected for long periods. Even some of the most common eye issues can cause permanent blindness if left untreated, including:
- Age-related macular degeneration
Regularly scheduling eye exams ensures that any underlying issues are caught and treated before they lead to long-lasting complications.
Ophthalmologists vs. Optometrists
When choosing the right eye doctor for you, the first step is understanding the difference between ophthalmologists and optometrists. While both are eye doctors, each has a different area of expertise. Depending on your eye care needs, one is likely more suitable for you than the other.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine. They specialize in eye and vision care and are trained to perform eye surgery. Ophthalmologists may even specialize in the medical treatment of a specific disease or parts of the eye, such as glaucoma or the retina.
Optometrists, on the other hand, have several other responsibilities. These include:
- Performing routine eye exams
- Diagnosing eye problems
- Prescribing contacts and eyeglasses
- Performing contact lens fittings
For routine eye care, you will likely want to see an optometrist. You will see an ophthalmologist for more serious concerns that may require surgical treatment.
Knowing what kind of eye doctor can best meet your needs makes choosing the right one much more effortless. This way, for example, you won’t spend valuable time researching optometrists when you need a specialized ophthalmologist.
The Role of the Optician
When it comes to those who work in an eye clinic, the optician’s role can be confusing. Unlike ophthalmologists and optometrists, opticians are not eye doctors.
Instead, opticians are members of the eye clinic team that are more focused on customer service. Your optician can help you with services that include:
- Receiving and filling prescriptions
- Fitting, measuring, and adjusting eyeglass frames
- Guidance when choosing contacts, frames, and other vision-related accessories
- Performing general office duties
An optician may also be able to answer general questions about eye care. However, they cannot examine or diagnose you with vision problems. While opticians are valuable sources of information and guidance, only an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help you with this part of the eye care process.
What to Look for in an Eye Doctor
When choosing the right eye doctor for you, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information. Knowing what to factor into your decision can be challenging, from licensing to referrals.
However, there are a few characteristics that every good eye doctor will display. By checking for each element during your search, you can ensure the clinic you choose is fit to meet your needs as a client.
Here are six things to look for when choosing an eye doctor.
1. Credentials and Years of Experience
The first thing you should look for in an eye doctor is their qualifications and years of experience.
The eye doctor you choose must receive proper education from a reputable organization. Licenses and training credentials are also important, especially if you see an ophthalmologist specializing in treating certain conditions or parts of the eye.
Additionally, the years your eye doctor has been in practice can be the difference between a negative experience and a positive one. The more years of experience they have, the more time they have had to perfect their processes, and the better your visit will likely be.
In most eye clinics, you will likely see licenses, diplomas, and other credentials hanging around the office or in the waiting room. This information should also be readily available for patients to view on the clinic’s website.
2. A Good Reputation
Aside from being professionally qualified, a good eye doctor will have a positive reputation throughout the community they serve. Luckily, it is now easier than ever to find firsthand experiences with eye doctors in your area.
Checking reputable review websites online will alert you to any red flags you can avoid without ever setting foot into the clinic. These testimonials will also allow you to see exactly how other patients in the same position as you felt after their experience. If an eye clinic has a good reputation within your community, they are likely to give you the service you are looking for.
3. Easily Accessible
Whether you need urgent eye treatment or a routine exam, your eye care clinic should be easily accessible. Before making your decision, check the hours of availability to ensure any future appointments will work around your schedule.
Location is also a critical part of choosing the right eye doctor. Your eye care office should be in a convenient location that allows you to make it to your appointment easily.
If you find a suitable eye clinic that is too far from you, be sure to check whether or not there are multiple office locations; one may be close enough to make things work.
4. Up-to-Date Equipment
No matter how much experience your eye doctor has, your experience as a patient will suffer if they use out-of-date equipment.
Proper equipment is necessary to ensure the results of each eye exam are as accurate as possible. Plus, using outdated tools is a sign that your eye clinic is not taking the care it should to provide each patient with a positive experience.
However, clinics with up-to-date equipment demonstrate a level of care that extends to each patient. If your eye doctor uses the best tools available, you are more likely to receive the necessary care.
5. An Extensive Eyewear Collection
One of the biggest reasons for visiting an eye doctor is to be outfitted with a new pair of glasses or contacts. Many clinics carry a selection of frames to eliminate the need to look for them elsewhere, allowing you to meet all of your vision care needs in one place.
A good eye clinic will have an extensive collection of eyewear for you to choose from. Each frame should be durable and well-made, and plenty of designs for you to choose from. This way, you can leave your appointment with not only a prescription, but also a new set of frames that blend in seamlessly with your unique style.
6. A Warm, Welcoming Environment
No matter how new the equipment is or how many eyeglass frames are available, your experience as a patient could be unpleasant without a warm and welcoming environment.
From the first phone call to every in-house visit, every member of the clinic’s team should be working to provide you with the care you need. If the space feels comfortable and inviting, you will likely have a good experience throughout your vision health journey.
Find the Right Eye Doctor for You at Newsom Eye
Good vision health starts with the care you receive from your eye doctor. As one of the leading eye care practices in Florida, Newsom Eye is dedicated to helping every patient experience life-changing visual results.
Whether you need a routine exam or need to correct a vision issue, the experts at Newsom Eye are highly qualified to help. Schedule an appointment today and get the proper eye care that matches your exact needs and lifestyle so you can start living life with NEWSOM EYES!