When it comes to medical care, many people overlook the need for high-quality eye care. Having a good optometrist is essential, though, especially after an eye injury, or in a situation where eye deterioration or disease is involved.
What follows is a rundown on the basics of finding the right optometrist for you. Some of the tips here will seem obvious and unnecessary, but they’re not, and the ones that aren’t can make or break the quality of your vision and eye health for the rest of your life.
The first important thing you need to know is how different eye disciplines are broken down. When it comes to eye care, there are two types of doctors—optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Optometrists are eye doctors who examine and test your eyes. The most common reason to visit an optometrist is to get glasses after the optometrist has prescribed the right set of lenses for you. Most of the time this is a normal, pedestrian interaction, but sometimes an optometrist will find a problem that goes beyond his or her field and level of expertise.
That’s where the ophthalmologist enters the picture. These eye doctors treat eye conditions and diseases and knowing the difference between what kind of eye doctor you need can save you a lot of time and money.
Now for the generic parts of your search—get recommendations and hunt down quality reviews, and use professional associations as well.
This combination will increase the likelihood of finding the right person, and it will reduce the chance of stumbling into an eye doctor with professional problems or issues.
Pricing is part of the deal as well. If you can narrow down what you’re looking for, make sure to establish a price range, then match your search to your budget. There’s no sense seeking out someone you can’t afford, and if you can afford the best and want that you should take that approach, too.
Technology is an underrated part of the search, too. Do some searches related to your needs, then do some more searches about whatever state-of-the-art equipment is necessary to meet those needs. Then ask your potential candidates what technology they use and see if you’ve got a match.
Finally, there’s professionalism and availability. A good optometrist should have a “bedside manner” that makes you comfortable, and the communication should at least be solid. In a perfect world it would be great, so shoot for that with the idea that it’s alright to fall a little short.
Availability is the last part of the equation. If you have an urgent need, you need an optometrist who can fit you in right away.
And even if you don’t, ask some questions about how long it takes an appointment—you never know when this will become important at the worst possible time.