How To Choose A Good Eye Doctor
Selecting a good eye doctor is just as important as selecting a general health physician. So what do you look for when shopping for an optician?
The type of eye doctor you seek may depend on the overall health of your eyes. You may need to see an eye specialist for example if you have complicated eye diseases or vision problems. Other times it may be perfectly acceptable to visit an optometrist for basic eye care.
Selecting An Eye Doctor
There are many specialties within the field of optometry. An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor with specialized experience in surgical and medical procedures. They are a good choice for anyone with injuries to the eye, eye disease or complicated vision problems. Typically an ophthalmologist has an M.D. or D.O. degree.
An ophthalmologist will have completed at least four years of specialized training and medical school. They will usually be licensed by a state regulatory board and are qualified to diagnose and treat various eye conditions.
An optometrist will have completed four years of optometry school and carries the credentials OD or doctor of optometry. They are well qualified to diagnose, treat and care for common diseases of the eyes and vision. Many will also complete specialty training programs in specific areas of eye health.
Optometrists are not medical doctors. They are however trained to detect various diseases and malformations of the eye including cataracts and glaucoma. They cannot however perform eye surgery to correct these diseases, and may have to refer patients with complicated diseases of the eye to an ophthalmologist. Most optometrists work with patients with various vision problems and prescribe corrective lenses to help improve their vision. They can also diagnose and treat anterior surface eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, uveitis, dry eye syndrome and other inflammation of the eye and surface eye diseases.
An optician works in conjunction with ophthalmologist or optometrist to deliver eye care services such as fitting glasses and contact lenses. They may help during eye exams or help with eye care prescriptions. Most have a two-year degree. A qualified optician can help interpret a prescription and decide what lenses are best suited to meet your individual needs.
Finding The Right Eye Care Specialist
You should always select an eye care specialist with the correct training to meet your individual vision needs. If you have an eye disease or health conditions your best bet is likely an ophthalmologist. You may need to see a doctor of optometry for vision problems, if you need a prescription for corrective lenses, or pink eye.
Be sure when selecting an eye doctor you examine the doctor's credentials and experiences. You want to make sure they offer the kinds of services you need. Most ophthalmologists and optometrists will provide you with certificates and licensures on your request. You can always confirm their credentials by contacting your local state board of ophthalmology or optometry.
Experience is just as important as proper credentials. If you have complicated eye conditions you may need to seek a more experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist. Many people find a good eye doctor simply by getting a referral from someone else. Ask friends or family members if they know a qualified practitioner you can visit.
You'll also want to make sure you select a doctor that offers a wide range of services and the types of services you need. If you prefer to consider alternatives like LASIK surgery for example, you should consult with a provider that offers this service or has experience with LASIK. You can always call ahead of time to review a provider's qualifications.
There are many valuable online resources that can help you find just the right eye doctor. For example, the American Board of Medical Specialties website has a search feature which tells you whether a doctor is certified in any specialties. It also provides general information about what board certification means and the certification process and gives tips on how to choose a good doctor. Another great option is Administrators in Medicine's DocFinder. The DocFinder database contains the licensing background and disciplinary information of doctors in many states of the USA. There is also the Federation of State Medical Boards website which provides links to each state's medical boards.
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