Optometrists, unlike what many people think, are not ophthalmologists. Unlike the latter, they do not come with a medical degree. An ophthalmologist has the certification for eye surgery and for more acute eye disorders. However, optometrists come with their own type of academic certification.
Here are few tips which will help you to select the best optometrist for your needs.
# 1. Look for Referrals.
These professionals offer ocular examinations and prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses for vision-correction. They can detect as well as cure eye conditions and diseases. When eye operation is needed or for more complicated conditions, these professionals refer their patients to ophthalmologists. When you are considering visiting an optometrist, ask for recommendations from your primary care doctor, friends and family members. Take out some time to do some research on the experience and credentials of the optometrist. You may also search online and visit their website to know more about their experience and practice.
# 2. Make a research about the credentials of the professional.
Find out whether the optometrist has the skills and training needed for the treatment of varied eye disorders or vision problems. An optometrist has to complete a 4-year degree in Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), other than 4 years of an undergraduate college degree. Also ensure that the professional you are considering has not been faced with any disciplinary actions or charges of malpractice. You can check the websites of the state optometry board to know about the certifications, training, disciplinary history and malpractice history of any optometrist.
# 3. Consider the experience of the professional.
Experience of the person who is going to treat you plays a vital role when you are facing eye conditions or problems that can have an impact on your vision. The more an optometrist is experienced with a processes or conditions, the better you can expect the outcome to be. Ask the professional the number of patients the optometrist has treated with the particular condition that you might be facing, such as:
- Colour blindness
- Macular Degeneration
In few countries, an optometrist is allowed to carry out LASIK (Laser Eye Surgery) and some other kinds of eye surgeries. In case you require a particular treatment, ask about the number of patients the professional has treated with the same treatment. Know about how many and what complications he has faced, and what your own complication risks are.
# 4. Know about his rates.
You should never skip eye check-ups, which happen to be vital eye exams. You have to make advance checks on the charges of the optometrist. This can be a better idea than facing a huge, shockingly high bill afterwards. Ensure that there are no hidden charges involved, and that each test is carried out in a perfect way. Also compare the varied cost plans and choose one that suits your pocket the best. Never make any compromises on the quality front just because an optometrist offers affordable quotes. And the opposite is also not true always. It is not necessary that if an optometrist charges more than the professional is the best one. Do proper research before selecting one.
# 5. Check how the Optometrist Communicates with You.
Go for an optometrist who you feel comfortable while interacting, and who gives you the right kind of guidance and information. Once you meet the professional first, ask him/her a few questions to check the quality of responses. Do the professional give answers satisfactorily and gently or does he/she seem to be rude and curt? Look for a professional who displays a genuine interest in you, considers your preferences in treatment and respects your process of decision-making.
# 6. Check the satisfaction surveys of patients.
When you read the reviews of others about the optometrist, you can get an understanding of how the professional practices ocular healthcare. Find out from patient satisfaction surveys about the experience of getting treated by the optometrist. You can get information about how well the doctor is trusted by the patients, the amount of time he spends in listening to patients etc. This can help you to make an informed choice.
These are some of the important criteria or process following which you can select the best optometrist according to your need for you and for your loved ones. Apart from this, you should do regular eye check-ups which will help you to monitor your optical condition.