Choosing an eye care doctor is the same as choosing other doctors for other health issues. Several factors come to mind including where they are located, will they be able to understand my problem, do I need to make an appointment, what would be their charges? And a lot more…
Our eyes play a vital role in our lives as they help us see, maintain balance, and stay clear of potential harm. They also happen to be one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies and therefore need to be cared for regularly to ensure they function correctly. However, many individuals are unaware of the best ways to properly maintain and care for their eyes and vision, and it often leads to assumptions and mistakes that cost them health-wise and financially.
To help individuals avoid making errors with their eye care, the team at Tonic Eye Care have listed a few common mistakes people make when choosing an eye care provider.
1. “I see great, so I don’t need an eye exam”
Many eye conditions do not produce “vision-related symptoms” in the early stages. Seeing well with no redness, soreness, discharge, or double vision does not mean that a person’s eyes are healthy. Early cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma often have no symptoms associated with them. Diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, and even certain eye tumors do not cause people to complain of symptoms. A routine annual eye examination will check for these types of conditions in addition to providing an updated prescription if needed.
2. Not getting eye exams as required
People often make the mistake of assuming that the frequency and amount of health benefits they may have should dictate the frequency of routine eye examinations or the value of the examination. Insurance companies base their coverage on what employers are willing to contribute to their employees’ health care costs and not on the accepted standards of care. An optometrist will tell a patient how often they feel the patient should be examined and explain why. Employee benefits may only cover part of the cost of the exam and recommended treatments. The patient will have to determine if their eyes and vision are worth it.
3. Assuming that an eye exam is simply a refraction
Many people still think an eye exam is simply a refraction (the process of determining the prescription for corrective lenses). This could not be further from the truth. A proper eye exam does include refraction, but it also involves testing, examining, and assessing the functioning of the pupils and the twelve muscles that control eye movements, the functioning, and health of the eyelids and the glands contained within them, the health of the outer ocular tissues, the health of the inner ocular tissues, as well as the overall functioning and performance of the complete visual system. A full eye exam can often provide a window into one’s general health and certain diseases that can impact visual functioning and ocular health.
4. Visiting multiple optometrists
Many people will go to different doctors wherever they happen to see a nice pair of glasses. This results in a loss of their oculo-visual history with each new practitioner. This history can be valuable in making sure small changes year-over-year are not signaling a slowly emerging disease or problem and can be crucial to one’s eye care should they ever develop a sudden, serious eye condition. For this reason, it is vital to find a great optometrist and stay with them!
5. Splitting up the locations of eye care and eye products
Some believe that this will save costs, but it is usually not significant for the same caliber product and can result in a loss of continuity of care. Getting contact lens care and the lenses themselves from an optometrist ensures that what the doctor prescribed is what the patient receives and that their contact lens-related eye health is being monitored in conjunction with their overall eye health and vision. Getting glasses elsewhere can be more costly time-wise, especially if there are any adaptation issues with a new prescription, requiring patients to make additional trips back and forth to the optometrist and then back to the optical. Some optical stores have a “resident optometrist” who can provide excellent care in conjunction with the products sold by the optical. But, some have ever-changing practitioners, which is very poor for continuity of care. On the other hand, many optometrists have extensive opticals in their practices which will also allow for excellent continuity of care between eye care and eyewear.
6. “My pediatrician checks my child’s eyes, and I don’t need to consult an optometrist”
Pediatricians absolutely do perform a cursory check, but this is not a complete oculo-visual assessment. Children’s vision develops in the first three to six years of life, so if there is an issue that is not detected, the child may never develop “normal” vision. If only caught after five years old, this may not be correctable. Pediatricians also check children’s oral and dental health, but no one would suggest that this is a substitute for a dental exam by a dentist and most parents are diligent about getting them checked. We only get two eyes and they are irreplaceable, so to keep them functioning well visiting an eye specialist is a must.
Your Local Optometrist
Your child’s eyes constantly change through these formative years, so it’s vital to have an eye care team to help you and your child through any issues that might be discovered. Our Tonic Eye Care team is here in your Toronto community, ready to talk you through any concerns about your visual health.
Please feel free to reach out to us to schedule an appointment, or conveniently book your eye exam online.