How to Choose An Eye Care Professional

How to Choose An Eye Care Professional

Choosing an optometrist or ophthalmologist

Qualifications – Can this go without being said?  Having a solid set of credentials is one quality indicator of a good health care provider.  Just remember this is only one indicator after receiving the degree and certifications, it doesn’t state where they ranked in class – at the head or very last.  Also someone who may have been book smart may not have been the best procedurally or have good “bedside manners“.

Making sure that your eye doctor has the proper and adequate training to diagnose, treat and prevent disease can help in your decision. Both an optometrist (OD) and ophthalmologist (DO or MD) needs to be certified through an accredited medical institution and licensed to practice through the your state board of optometry or state medical board. In addition your Ophthalmologists should have internship and residency experience. Typically Certificates and licenses are displayed in we trafficked areas. If you  don’t see them ask. You can also confirm their credentials through the appropriate state board “prior” to your visit.

Experience – Another quality indicator to consider is the experience of a health-care provider. An optometrist or ophthalmologist who has more experience should be more able to detect eye disease and diagnose disorders simply because they have seen more patients issues. The second benefit of visiting a health-care provider with experience is the reassurance that they have maintained a practice of optometry or ophthalmology. Most consumers are unforgiving to malpractice and bad service, when they are aware of it.  For me personally, I do not want an eye care physician that treats me like a fast food restaurant, in and out.  That doctor could be considered one with much experience due to the number of patients shoved through the doors, but it does not necessarily mean they are a good provider in spotting disorders.

You may also want to know if your eye examiner participates in medical research or medical education. An eye health professional that participates in and is current with the latest research and education of their field is more knowledgeable about the latest techniques in diagnosing and treating eye disease and visual disorders.  I believe it is a fairly well known fact that practitioners have state requirements for continued education, so find out how much and if it is above the requirements or just at it.

Services offered – Select your provider by what services you need especially if you suspect a specific issue. Choosing an eye health professional who is good with that specific service is sometimes more beneficial that one that has a wide range of services.  One who provides fewer services may sometimes be able to provide more specialization with a service or certain diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts or Lasik. Make sure you determine your eye health needs to narrow down which health-care provider you should see.

Patient satisfaction – This is what separates the cream from the milk. Happy patients are very important. Your here the phrase that the “word of mouth is faster and more effective than any form of advertising”.  It is one thing to know that patients are loyal to their health-care provider, but it goes even further when they encourage others to see “their” doctor. Now that is a very good indicator of quality.

I like to take this one step farther and get several opinions as well as research the number of complaints on any given provider.  I’m sure it would be very hard for a eye care provider who services many patients to not have a list one or two complaints.  However, if you find one that has numerous complaints with some being unresolved, you might want to think twice before going to that provider.

Once you’ve seen your eye care professional make a decision are you satisfied and comfortable with the outcome of your visit. Not necessarily the diagnosis as the treatment at their office. Here are a few questions to consider:

How long was your wait? Both in the waiting room and then again in the exam room?

How thorough was the examiner?  The technician and the doctor.

Did They address your concerns was there follow up with any possible complications or questions?

Would you recommend this eye care professional to others, family or friends?

Once you gone through all of that you will know if you have a “Keeper” or not and it will answer the question of whether or not you will return for continued service of your eye care needs.

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