Eyes are not only the windows to the soul, as the famous saying goes, but also our window to the world around us. Vision is one of the senses that we use the most as we depend on it more to accomplish daily activities. In that case, taking care of them is a must for our overall quality of life. While many of us rely on opticians to help adjust our eyesight and lenses, our overall eye health is best handled by an ophthalmologist –also known as an Eye MD. This is a medical doctor who specializes in everything relating to eye and vision care, from performing eye exams to diagnosing and treating all eye diseases, prescribing medication, fitting contact lenses, and eyeglasses, as well as performing eye surgery. Many are also involved in the scientific research of causes and cures for vision disorders and eye diseases. As you can see, an ophthalmologist is engaged in the full spectrum of your eye care, which makes it very important to find the right one.
Finding the Right Ophthalmologist for You
Eyes are a very sensitive part of the body and should only be entrusted to the best. This makes choosing an ophthalmologist a critical decision. You must take as much time as possible when searching for an ophthalmologist. This will allow you to find someone who can:
Focus on preventive care
Most of the conditions that eventually result in eye diseases or vision disorders can be spotted early on, even before you, as a patient, can notice any changes. This is, however, only possible with the right ophthalmologist who puts top priority on preventive care. This kind of care could be as simple as educating patients on how to maintain good eye health or providing routine annual exams to ensure early detection of potential problems. Eye problems generally build over time, but with regular checkups, your ophthalmologist can help prevent many of them.
Ensure the right diagnosis and treatment
Many eye conditions can be treated. In the unfortunate event that you suffer vision problems such as blurred vision, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts, amongst others, correct early diagnosis with the right kind of treatment can help manage the condition before it leads to serious side effects like blindness. Keep in mind that some eye conditions are irreversible if left untreated –whether due to late detection or misdiagnosis.
Detect any underlying medical conditions
Since ophthalmologists are medical doctors who also specialize in general eye care, they have the necessary skills and knowledge to recognize other health problems that may not be directly related to your eye. An ophthalmologist could be the first to discover that you have high cholesterol, a hormone imbalance, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even skin cancer. Evidence of these diseases can be revealed in your eyes first, even before you start to experience significant symptoms. Since the optic nerve is an extension of the neurological system, an ophthalmologist is capable of detecting any early signs of some neurological diseases such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, aneurysms, optic neuritis, or even a brain tumor. Because eyes are a glimpse into your health, it’s important to invest enough time into finding the right ophthalmologist like Dr. Yuna Rapoport, who will help keep your overall health in check.
Complete eye care services
As mentioned earlier, ophthalmologists provide all kinds of eye care services, from routine vision exams to eye surgery and everything in-between. They can also detect other medical conditions and refer you to the right medical specialists. The right ophthalmologists should be able to provide all these eye care services. This will not only ensure correct diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment but will also save you money that you would otherwise spend on different specialists.
Simplifying insurance concerns
Insurance policies can get complicated when it comes to covering eye care services. You need to invest more time in an ophthalmologist who participates in your plan and can also help you get the right benefits from your insurance provider.
For purposes of convenience, it only makes sense to look for an ophthalmologist near you –perhaps one who’s located near your house or place of work.
How to Choose the Right Ophthalmologist
There are a good number of ophthalmologists to choose from when you need eye care services. With such an outstanding job to perform, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few crucial factors to consider that will help you make the right choice:
If you have no idea where to start looking for an ophthalmologist, start with a referral list from your primary care physician. You can also talk to your friends, family members, co-workers, or even neighbors to see which ones they’ve used and liked. Another alternative is to contact your insurance provider for a list of ophthalmologists that are covered under your plan. You’ll probably have a long list after this, so narrow it down with the points below.
Credentials and certification
Check to ensure that a particular ophthalmologist has proper training, licensing, and credentials to offer the best ophthalmic care. They must have received their training in the best Institutes in the country, which guarantees unmatched skills. You can verify their board certification on the American Board of Ophthalmology website, Healthgrades.com, or check state websites.
Although these eye specialists perform the same procedures, some of them have specialized or may have more experience in one area than the other. There are several subspecialties of ophthalmology, which focus on specific parts of the eye or certain eye diseases. That being said, previous records of actually treating patients are as crucial as subspecialty fellowship training. So, ask how many treatments or procedures the ophthalmologist has performed before on patients with your specific condition. Generally, the more experience a doctor has with a particular eye condition or procedure, the more likely you are to get better results.
Today’s patients are fortunate enough to have access to online reviews. Use them to your advantage and know what other patients think of a particular eye doctor. You should also ensure the doctor has no history of disciplinary actions due to medical malpractice. Eyes are precious, and even the slightest mistake on the doctor’s part can lead to severe damage such as total blindness.
Research hospital quality
Seeing as your doctor’s hospital is also your hospital, a good ophthalmologist must be associated with a state-of-the-art facility. This guarantees the availability of all necessary equipment and treatments for your condition. Your doctor’s hospital also matters because patients at top-rated hospitals tend to have better survival rates and fewer complications.