The health of your eyes is usually something you don’t give much thought to until you realize you have a problem with your eyesight. Many times, that problem can be fixed, but the earlier you attend to failing eyesight the better the outcome will be. So, what should you look for when you’re sitting in front of google and typing “Who is the best eye Doctor near me?”

Do I Need an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist?

What Is an Optometrist?

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An Optometrist is an eye Doctor who has studied for and gained a Doctor of Optometry degree. They have completed a four-year college degree in the sciences and have completed another four years of post-graduate training at Optometry school. Optometrists must keep up with practices and training to keep their licenses.

Optometrists can prescribe medications to treat some eye problems, but not all. They’re able to examine your eyes and determine health and they can prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses.

The laws governing Optometrists and what they are legally allowed to do differ in each state, so you might want to check with your local Optometry board. Some Optometrists can provide vision therapy and care for low vision problems.

Optometrists are not licensed to perform eye surgery however, they are legally allowed to assist in pre-operative and post-operative care.

What Is an Ophthalmologist?

An Ophthalmologist is an osteopathic or medical Doctor who specializes in vision and eye care. They can perform eye examinations, diagnose illness, treat illnesses, prescribe all eye medications and perform eye surgery. Like Optometrists, they’re also able to write prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglasses.

Ophthalmologists must complete a four-year degree in college, then another four years in medical school. After that, they a year- long internship and complete a minimum of three years, hospital-based residency in the ophthalmology department.

What Does an Optician Do?

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An Optician takes the prescription that your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist has written and uses it to fit your eyeglasses. In some states they’re also allowed to fit contact lenses after they have studied to gain certification. Opticians may or may not complete licensing training, it depends on the laws in each state.

How Do I Know Which Eye Doctor I Need?

If you are not aware of any eye problems currently, or in the past, you can choose between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist. Both can do eye examinations, and both can diagnose and treat minor eye conditions.

If you suspect, or you have, glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration, you would be best to visit an Ophthalmologist. If your eye problem is particularly serious, an Optometrist and Ophthalmologist may coordinate to take care of your eye health.

10 Tips when Searching for the Best Eye Doctor Near Me

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Once you’ve decided whether you need an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist, your next step is to find a suitable eye doctor. We’ve gathered the following tips together to help you choose the best eye doctor for your needs.

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A final consideration to complete your best eye doctor near me search is to ask yourself if you would be happy to visit the practice again. It is recommended that a complete eye examination is done every two years, on eyes that have not had any previous issues.

Children should also have their eyes examined every two years, more if they seem to be experiencing problems. Good eyesight is essential in gaining an education, so you want to pick up any problems and attend to them as soon as possible.

Seniors over the age of 61 years should see an eye doctor every year. If there’s a family history of eye problems, or other conditions such as Diabetes, time between eye doctors should lessen to six months or however long the specialist suggests.

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