Some people choose an eye doctor and stick with that doctor for years and years. Many of our patients here at Pacific Eye have been coming to us for decades, and they can achieve excellent long-term eye health with the continuity of care that comes from seeing the same ophthalmologist year after year.
But if you are searching for a new ophthalmologist or eye surgeon, perhaps because your doctor retired, you have moved, or your child needs eye care for the first time, here are three tips that can help you make a good decision.
1. Do Your Homework
First, you need to recognize that there are both ophthalmologists and optometrists offering eye care services. Ophthalmologists are more highly trained in providing complex vision care services. For instance, only ophthalmologists can perform eye surgery procedures in California. Optometrists are more limited in the treatment options they can provide. Pacific Eye is proud to have nine ophthalmologists on staff to serve the wide range of vision needs for our patients.
Another big part of doing your homework is gathering recommendations. There are several resources to use here. You can of course check the web to find local ophthalmologists in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Paso Robles. Visiting the websites of these providers is a good start, and also be sure to check out online reviews from sites such as Yelp and Healthgrades.
You also want to ask around to get offline recommendations. See if your doctor or pediatrician can give you the name of a trusted ophthalmologist. Also, talk with colleagues at work and friends or relatives in the area about where they go for specialized eye care.
2. Ask Questions
There are many common questions to ask when you first contact an eye care practice, including whether that practice accepts your vision insurance plan and how soon you can get in to see a provider. You also may have more specific questions, such as whether the practice provides a specific type of service such as cataract surgery or LASIK vision correction, or whether a doctor at the practice specializes in a particular eye condition you have. Get as many answers as you need ahead of time to make the right choice for your vision care.
3. Evaluate and Decide
Once you’ve made a selection, your search is not necessarily over. After your initial visit, think about whether or not you were satisfied with your experience. Did you have to wait a long time? Did the exam feel rushed? Did you get a chance to have all your questions answered?
If you felt comfortable with the practice you selected, that’s great. If not, ask yourself whether you want to give them another try. That’s a personal decision that depends on many factors. The bottom line is that you need to feel positive about the vision care you receive, so that you can make the most of your health.