Vision is crucial to nearly every aspect of a person’s life. A loss of vision can negatively impact everything from one’s ability to drive, to seek employment and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as reading a book. To help maintain one’s eyesight it is important for the average person to see an eye care professional, such as an optometrist, every one to two years. With routine eye care, common vision problems and potential changes to the health of the eye can be detected and treated before they become problematic. Routine eye care is also crucial to ensure that one is seeing as clearly as possible with his or her current eye glasses or contact lenses. In order to get the most out of these eye examinations, it is necessary to find the right optometrist. Because of the importance of having good vision, it is important to choose an optometrist that instills a sense of trust and that makes their patients feel comfortable with their services.
Technology is may be a deciding factor when choosing an optometrist. With advancements in technology and the implementation of new smart technology into the field of optometry, it is important to work with a doctor who has access to and knowledge of advanced technology, including smart glasses and smart contacts.
When choosing a new optometrist there are several other key factors to keep in mind; including insurance coverage and the potential for out-of-pocket costs, the types of services provided, partnerships and the doctor’s philosophy on patient care. Word of mouth is another crucial factor that should not be ignored, particularly when it comes to the opinions of people who are well-trusted. Each of these factors should be looked at independently, however it is up to the individual to decide how important each of these aspects are, and how much weight they will carry in the overall decision of whom to choose.
Above all else, the first deciding factor should be whether or not the optometrist has the right qualifications and is properly licensed to practice. Regardless of the state, optometrists are required to have a valid license when providing eye care to patients. Not only is it the law, but it also gives patients a basic level of confidence that their optometrist has met the minimum requirements to receive a license. For ease of verification, optometrists should post their credentials in a location that is visible to patients within the office. To further confirm that their license is legitimate and up-to-date, a person can check with their State Board of Optometry, which can be located through the directory on the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry website.
While cost shouldn’t be the deciding factor when selecting a new optometrist, it is something that should be taken into consideration. Although insurance will cover most aspects of a routine eye examination, it is dependent on whether or not the optometrist is covered by the individual’s particular vision insurance plan . A person can determine which optometrists are covered by contacting their insurance company for a list of preferred providers. At this time it is also important to understand what services are covered and what services will need to be paid out-of-pocket. For example, certain insurance providers may only pay for routine eye examinations, but further testing may not be covered. In this case, the testing will need to be paid by the plan member.
When calling around to different optometrists, it is important to ask what services the doctor offers. In addition to routine eye examination tests, it is necessary to know if they offer other tests like automated visual field testing, for example. Do they have professional and trained opticians on staff to help with eyeglass selection if necessary? Are they experienced in contact lens fitting? In addition, check to see what professional partnerships they may have. For example, a person who is interested in laser vision correction may want to choose an optometrist who has a partnership with an ophthalmologist who performs laser vision correction. In these cases, the optometrist may do some of the work up to determine if the patient is a candidate and can arrange an appointment for the patient to see the laser vision correction surgeon.
Although it is important to personally check into the services and background of any optometrist of interest, it is extremely helpful to get the opinion of friends and family members. Often a person can get a good sense of whom to avoid and who to see based off of personal recommendations and word-of-mouth. These people can give firsthand accounts of the cleanliness of the optometrist’s office and the professionalism of the staff, as well as the skill and mannerisms of the optometrist.
Committing to find the right optometrist can make all of the difference when it comes to preserving one’s vision. Because noticeable changes to a person’s eyesight can occur suddenly, a routine eye examination can help detect any problems early. The right optometrist can help to ease any concerns or fears that people may have about eye care, which encourages them to continue receiving routine examinations.