Are street signs -- or the newspaper -- looking a little fuzzy these days? It's probably time to see an eye doctor.
If you've never been before, choosing an eye doctor can be tricky. There are several kinds of eye care experts with lots of different specialties. To help guide you, here are some things to consider when choosing an eye doctor.
It is not possible to prevent chronic open-angle glaucoma, but early detection and effective treatment will prevent significant damage to the eyes and preserve your sight. All adults need an eye exam that includes tests for glaucoma every three to five years. These tests are usually done by an eye doctor -- either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. If someone in your family has had glaucoma or if you have other risk factors for glaucoma, your doctor may suggest more frequent eye exams.
If you've never seen an eye doctor, how do you find one? Start with:
Recommendations from your doctor (or pediatrician). Your doctor will have the names of eye doctors in the area. He or she may have a sense of who would be a good fit for you or your young children.
Recommendations from family, friends, and coworkers. Think of everyone you know who wears glasses -- they all have eye doctors. Ask them.
Professional organizations. The web sites of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association both offer ways to find local eye doctors.
Questions to Ask an Eye Doctor
Assessing an Eye Doctor
After your appointment, ask yourself some questions.
Did you have to wait a long time? If you did, you may want to ask the office staff about the average waiting time before appointments.
Did the exam feel thorough? If you feel like the doctor was rushing you, that's not a good sign.
Did the doctor take the time to listen to your questions and answer them clearly? Good communication is key for your eye health.
Did you feel comfortable? This really is important. If you don't like your eye doctor, you'll be less likely to get your check-ups -- and that's not good for your health.
If the doctor didn't meet your expectations, don't be afraid to try someone else. Your eye health is key for a long, healthy life. It’s worth the effort to take the time to find an eye doctor you trust.