Finding an eye doctor isn’t hard, browsing online will give you the names of several in your area. However, finding one that can see to your specific eye needs, provides excellent customer service and doesn’t break the bank may take a little more work.
Firstly, you may be confused about the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist. Both perform eye exams, although if you need to choose glasses and frames, a visit to your optometrist is needed. He or she is also able to treat farsightedness, nearsightedness and other conditions. You may need to look for an ophthalmologist if you need iritis, glaucoma or another condition treated, or if you need surgery for a cataract or crossed eyes. And if you like the idea of contact lenses rather than glasses, you’ll go to an optometrist.
Regardless, if it’s your first time finding an eye doctor, and you aren’t sure where to go, asking for recommendations from people you work with, friends or family is usually a good strategy. Of course, most eye doctors have a website and that can give you a good idea of practicalities such as services offered, opening hours, the experience and qualifications of the staff. Many eye doctors now offer online appointments, with the ability to also change or cancel that appointment online, without having to call someone.
If you go into an eye doctor to make an appointment, ask about services or take an eye exam, that’s a good opportunity to see how you like the place and whether you would use them again. Look for staff who are professional, friendly and knowledgeable and a facility that seems well run, efficient and clean. Most eye doctors will post their qualifications in the office, although there’s also nothing to stop you asking. Look for an efficient billing system, a short wait time for your exam and staff who either answer the phone promptly or return your call efficiently.
One of your biggest concerns when finding an eye doctor may be the cost, and there’s no doubt that an eye exam, lenses and frames can soon become costly. If you have insurance, check with the eye doctor and your provider as to exactly what’s covered and what out of pocket expenses to expect. You may have to settle for choosing from a limited range of frames; the more desirable frames usually cost more. Insurance can become complicated with deductibles, co-payments and different plans, and understanding your options is important.
When choosing an eye doctor, it may pay you to go to one of those discount eye doctors and eyeglass stores that are always advertising on TV. The process of having an exam and choosing a frame is perhaps quicker than at other eye doctors, although you may find the personal touch is missing, and there may be a limited choice of frames. However, if cost is an issue, these discount eyeglass retailers can often be less expensive than going elsewhere, even if they don’t take your vision insurance.