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Choosing an Eye Health Professional

Choosing an eye care provider is an important health decision. After all, you will put your trust in your eye care professional to protect your precious sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision.

The first step in your decision is to understand that there are two types of eye care professionals: optometrists and ophthalmologists. And there is a third “O” among visual healthcare providers: the optician.

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is an eye professional who has received a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists check the eyes for vision and health problems, and correct refractive errors by prescribing glasses and contact lenses. Some optometrists also provide low vision care and vision therapy.Optometrists within the us also are licensed to prescribe medications for the treatment of certain eye diseases and problems. The scope of medical aid that optometrists can provide is decided by state law. (For details on the scope of professional practice for optometrists where you reside, visit the web site of your state’s commission of optometry)Optometrists also can participate in pre and post-surgery care, if the surgery was performed by an ophthalmologist. With some exceptions, optometrists within the us aren’t qualified or licensed to perform surgery.In general, an optometrist must complete a four-year extension college Bachelor of Science program plus four years of postgraduate professional training in optometry school. Therefore, the education requirements of an optometrist are almost like those of a dentist.

Like ophthalmologists, optometrists are required to undergo mandatory ongoing training on an ongoing basis to retain their license and stay current with the newest standards for medical vision care.What is an ophthalmologist?An ophthalmologist may be a physician of drugs (MD) or a physician of osteopathic medicine (DO) who focuses on the care of the eyes and vision. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat diseases, prescribe medications, and perform eye surgeries. They will also write prescriptions for glasses and get in touch with lenses.Generally, ophthalmologists complete four years for a university degree, four years for school of medicine, one year for an internship, and a minimum of three years for a hospital residency in ophthalmology.So (to extend the analogy to dentistry), while the education of an optometrist is analogous thereto of a general dentist, the education and training of an ophthalmologist is more almost like that of an oral surgeon.What is an optician?An optician isn’t an eye fixed doctor, but their importance is that they’re a crucial a part of your vision care team. Opticians use prescriptions issued by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to suit and sell glasses and other related products.In some states, opticians must complete a educational program within the field of optics and must be licensed. Other states don’t require opticians to receive formal training or licensure. Some states allow opticians to suit contact lenses, usually after completing a certification program.Which professional should I attend: an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialized medical or surgical treatments, the sort of doctor you select for a routine eye exam may be a matter of private preference.Both optometrists and ophthalmologists perform routine eye exams, and both sorts of eye health professionals are trained to detect, diagnose, and manage eye diseases that need medical and other treatments.If you have already got an eye fixed medical problem, like glaucoma , degeneration , or cataracts , it’s important to be seen by an eye fixed professional who is very trained and skilled in monitoring and treating your condition. On many occasions, this might mean that medical or surgical eye care by a professional ophthalmologist is that the best choice. In such cases, your optometrist (or ophthalmologist in general) may refer you to a colleague who focuses on treating your disorder.Many optometrists offer medical treatment for common eye problems (such as dry eyes and eye infections) and certain chronic eye diseases (such as glaucoma). Other specific eye disorders require treatment by an ophthalmologist, particularly if surgery or other specialized care is required.In many cases, a team of an optometrist and an Ophthalmology Expert Witness can provide the care you would like for a selected eye problem. This arrangement is named joint management.  

In joint management, your primary ophthalmologist (usually an optometrist) refers you to a specialist (usually an ophthalmologist) for a definitive diagnosis and plan for treatment. The ophthalmologist may prefer to medically manage the matter, perform eye surgery, or both. After the condition is controlled or treated surgically, the specialist refers you to your medical care physician, who continues to regulate the disorder or perform post-operative care supported the specialist’s recommendations.Co-management may be a particularly good solution if you’re very satisfied with the standard of eye care you’re receiving from your primary eye care physician, but you would like an experienced specialist to treat you for any specific eye medical conditions.Vision Safe and Your Eye Health Professional’s ChoiceIf you’ve got vision insurance or a insurance policy that covers eye care, one think about choosing an eye fixed care professional is determining if they’re a licensed provider under your insurance plan, and which one. It’ll be your out-of-pocket expense to hide the exam.In general, you’ll get this information by calling the doctor’s office and providing your insurance information. Many insurance companies also publish a directory of vision professionals who accept vision-related plans on their websites.Most optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide general eye look after the entire family accept Medicare for older patients. But remember that while Medicare covers your visits to an eye fixed care professional for medically necessary eye care, it doesn’t cover routine eye exams.If you’ve got Medicare coverage and you’ve got a routine eye exam just to see and update your prescription for your glasses, paying for the exam are going to be your responsibility unless you’ve got a personal vision policy that covers these exams. But if you’re eligible for Medicare and suffer from a pre-existing eye problem like cataracts or degeneration, a part of your comprehensive eye exam could also be covered. Ask your eye health care provider for more details. Also, once you call an eye fixed care professional’s office, determine how they handle insurance claims. Will you’ve got to buy the exam then submit the claim to your insurance firm yourself, or will the office bill your insurance firm for the exam, so no payment is required from you?If you do not have a policy that covers eye care, determine the attention care professional’s fees for a routine exam and any tests you’ll need. Although you ought to not choose knowledgeable solely on the idea of cost, it’s an element to think about.Other factors when choosing an eye fixed health care providerWhen inquiring about the services an eye fixed care professional offers, ask what would happen if a drag is detected that needs treatment outside of the scope of your care. What medical and surgical specialists do they refer patients to, and where is that the office located?Finally, a critical factor that you simply should consider when choosing an eye fixed health care provider is that the recommendation of that doctor from friends, family, or work colleagues. “Word of mouth” recommendations are the simplest thanks to find a friendly, competent, and committed eye healthcare practitioner, and to avoid unpleasant surprises once you choose an eye fixed exam.