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Eye health discussion from Dr. Azizi and West Florida Eye Care

Five Tips for Choosing an Eye Doctor

Posted at January 11, 2013 | By : | Categories : Blog,Eye Health Tips | 0 Comment

eyechartWhile many people claim a general physician or family doctor, not all of us have an eye doctor to call our own. There are plenty to choose from, and much of the same advice that you could apply to finding a new family physician could be applied to finding an eye care specialist.

These 5 tips will help you make sure you’re finding the best optometrist to suit your needs:

1. Know your specialists

Eye doctors sub-specialize even within their field. There are optometrists and ophthalmologists. Optometrists are your general eye care specialists. They diagnose eye disease and other eye problems, and are medically trained to treat many of those conditions. If you need eye exams, vision testing, contact, frame or lenses, they can provide exactly what you need. In the event that you have a serious problem requiring, for instance, surgery, an optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist and in some cases helping sort out issues with scheduling and insurance.

2. Ask your doctor

This is one of the best ways to find an excellent optometrist. Physicians are referring patients to specialists constantly–they have a great idea of the local “lay of the land” and should know who to avoid. Most importantly, you already trust and value their opinion.
Alternatively, consult a good list like the American Optometric Association’s list of local eye doctors.

Doctor Evil

3. Ask your family and friends

You can get a patient’s perspective from people you know who have visited. They’ll know the answers to your questions about whether the optometrist and his staff are friendly, if there was a wait, if the facilities are clean and modern, and an estimation of the quality of care received. If he’s Doctor Evil, you’ll definitely know about it **before** you visit.

4. Check the eye doctor’s credentials

There are state resources to check for a license to practice. Check resources like Yelp or Angie’s List to find out what strangers thought of their experience. Just using a little basic google-fu to prescreen eye specialists can go a long way. Find out how long they’ve been in business, and in what locations. Find out where they received their degree.

5. Check their insurance policy

Call ahead and find out if they accept your medical insurance. For most regular folks, “sorry, we don’t accept that insurance provider” is a pretty devastating thing to hear. Even if the visit is affordable, it’s an unplanned expense that can be avoided–it’s no problem for the receptionist to answer your questions about medical insurance, and even talk you through different situations with deductibles and co-payment options.

A little effort goes a long way when you’re looking for a quality, professional eye doctor. You can easily come up with the names of a few optometrists who have been referred by professional organizations, peers, and clients, speak with the staff at their facilities, and make a great decision about your choice of eye doctor–all before you set foot out your front door.
photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc