An Optometrist is an eye doctor who is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and ocular problems such as eye infections, glaucoma, and other eye-related problems. They can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems, and they can prescribe medications to treat eye infections, glaucoma and other problems. In addition, they can provide minor in-office procedures to treat trauma to the eyes. To become an Optometrist, one must obtain their undergraduate degree, then complete four years of graduate school at an accredited College of Optometry. After passing national and state board certifications, the title of Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree is bestowed.
Optometrists may practice in various settings. Many are in private offices, while others may work with ophthalmologists (eye surgeons), retail practices, or in hospitals and nursing homes. Regardless of their practice settings, all optometrists have to go through the same education and certifications to be licensed.
So, how do you choose an Optometrist?
Granted, with all the advertising by optometrists and ophthalmologists, and the chain stores that have opticals, the landscape is fairly crowded with options. Better than paying attention to all of the advertisements, solicit recommendations from your friends and co-workers. Perhaps your employers has medical or vision insurance as a benefit for you. If so, call the doctors listed or visit their websites and try to get to know the doctor. Many chain-based opticals have doctors but they may not have the doctors may come and go. If you want to build a health care relationship with your eye doctor, ask how long have they been practicing there. It’s a fair question.
Also, be prepared to ask questions when you call for information. Will the doctor dilate my eyes? ( a sign of thorough examination). How long will the examination take? (a sign of how extensive the testing is). What are the fees? Do you take medical insurance? Do you take vision insurance? What are the average prices of your eyeglasses? The answers to these questions can help you determine if the practice is right for you.
It’s important for patients to invest in their health care decisions, including their choice of optometrists.