August is National Eye Exam Month. Eyesight is an important part of our everyday lives. You want to make sure your eyesight is the best it can be or if there’s any treatment needed to help you see clearly. However, choosing an optometrist or ophthalmologist can be challenging and overwhelming if you’ve never had issues with your eyes.
It’s important to know the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist. Optometrists are trained to examine, diagnose, treat and manage some diseases and disorders. They don’t perform eye surgery, but can prescribe eyeglasses and contacts. Ophthalmologists specialize in medical and surgical eye care. Also, they specialize in the prevention of eye disease and injury. Ophthalmologists can perform surgery. Taking the time to find a qualified and caring doctor who prioritizes your well-being can be good for more than just your vision.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers tips to help you choose an optometrist or ophthalmologist:
• Determine your needs. Are you primarily concerned about visual acuity testing, eyeglasses and contact lenses? Or, are you looking for more advanced eye care services for managing or treating ocular health?
• Ask friends and family who their doctors are and if they trust the office.
• Check credentials. Make sure the eye doctor is licensed, carries appropriate insurance and meets local and state requirements. Many doctors prominently hang diplomas, licenses and training credentials in the office or waiting room.
• Seek reviews and ratings of the service. Look for both positive and negative feedback to build an accurate picture of what to expect.
• Find out if he or she is a member of an association like the American Optometric Association. These associations help you find local eye doctors and know the latest trends in eye care and equipment.
• Shop around and compare. Consider reputation, years of service and services provided, as well as cost.
• Ask about technology. Technologies enable doctors to operate more safely and to the highest standards, while also being affordable and ensuring the care they offer is cost-effective. Ask what technology they use and how it will benefit you.
• Check to see if the office accepts your insurance and what it covers.
• Consider convenience. Choose an eye care professional that’s convenient for you to visit to help ensure you don’t miss appointments. Choose one with a practice that’s near your home or workplace, that offers hours that suit your schedule and is easily reached in emergencies.
For more information about choosing an optometrist or ophthalmologist, visit BBB.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301. BBB can provide a list of BBB accredited businesses in the industry and business profiles on ones you may be considering.