“Which Healthcare Provider Do I See When I Have an Eye Problem?”
The answer is subtly within the title of this blog: you “see” your eye doctor! Though this answer may seem profound, patients will often seek out medical care from the emergency room, prompt/urgent care facilities, or their primary care provider for many eye problems, including red or irritated eyes (“pink eye”), eye pain, blurry vision, foreign body or trauma to the eye, itchy, watery eyes, etc. It is extremely important for patients to instead seek out an eye doctor if and when any of the above problems occurs. While the aforementioned providers are wonderful for general health conditions, your eye doctor has been highly trained in this particular area of the body and uses the most up-to-date technology and treatments specific to eyes.
Aren’t eye doctors only able to check my glasses and/or contact lenses?
The answer is easy: no. Optometrists are highly trained specialists of the eye with at least 8 years of education. There are many sub-specialities of optometry including vision therapy, sports vision, ocular disease, pediatrics, contact lenses, low vision/partial sight, and primary care. The eyeball is an extension of your brain, and there are many intricate parts and pathways to it. Many eye problems and diseases can go undetected without a thorough eye exam.
Don’t eye doctors only accept vision insurance plans? What if I don’t have vision insurance?
Optometrists are able to accept many and most major medical insurance plans. Any exam or evaluation that is not routine vision (“I need my glasses or contact lenses”) may be billable to your medical insurance. For example, dry, itchy, red, irritated eyes have many potential causes, and eye doctors can make an accurate diagnosis by conducting a thorough examination, which is billable to your medical insurance. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts are all medical conditions related to the eye. Skipping lines when reading or getting headaches after reading could mean a potential eye tracking problem. If you’re going to your eye doctor only when you need glasses or contact lenses, you could be missing out!
The moral of this story is that when you have an eye problem, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your eye doctor, no matter when the incident occurs. Many offices such as ours offer an after hours on-call service. Our eye doctors and staff would be happy to serve you whether it’s day, night, weekday, or weekend. www.opmt.com