People often ask where they should go when they have trouble with their vision. That is a good question, but a better question is where you should go for your regular eye exams. Where should you go when your eyes are feeling fine and your vision is unchanged? This is when having a great opthamologist is really important. This is when diseases and conditions of the eye can be detected and, hopefully, halted before they begin to present symptoms. A specialist is important, there is no question, but don’t neglect routine eye exams either.
Whether you are interested in an eye exam or need to discuss LASIK surgery with a specialist, it is clear that you need a great doctor. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the eye. The advantage here is that your doctor can diagnose and treat eye diseases. You can also opt to see an optometrist, who is a doctor of optometry (OD). He/she has received four years of post-graduate education in optometry and is trained to exam eyes, detect diseases like glaucoma, retinal detachment, and cataracts, and perform certain treatments. The difference is that he/she cannot treat all diseases.
If you find a good optometrist, you’ll be in good hands for your regular exams. If he should spot a signal of a condition for which he is not trained, you will likely be referred to an ophthalmologist, retinal specialist, or other expert.
When choosing your eye care professional, here are some factors to keep in mind:
Experience and training. Many people do not check on the credentials of their health care professionals, but this is really a basic step to take before you trust someone with your eyesight and health. Makes sure the doctor, whether MD or OD, has the most up-to-date training. The best way to find this out? Ask.
Make sure he has experience in the field in which you need assistance. For instance, if you have glaucoma, you may want the most aggressive treatment that only a specialist can provide. In Austin, cataract surgery, Lasik, retinopathy surgery, and treatments for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and a variety of other complex conditions are practiced widely, ensuring that you can find the right fit for your needs.
Services. What can the ophthalmologist or optometrist do for you? As mentioned, if you need regular exams and a prescription for glasses, visiting an experienced, skilled OD is great. But if you require more specific care, getting a referral to someone like a a retinal specialist who has a narrower field of expertise will be beneficial.
Patient recommendations. Ask friends or family members who they see. Visit doctor review sites and read up on your doctor. In a city the size of Austin, you will likely be able to find the information you need online. Look on sites like Yelp, RateMDs, and Vitals.com.
The best time to see an eye doctor is before you think you need to. When you find the right doctor, make sure you make that annual appointment.
About the Author: Mark Masters has authored may pieces on the eye care & surgery industry and enjoys keeping his readers up to date in this field