Eyecare Journalism 101
By Thomas P. Finley, OD
Dr. Finley's Family Eyecare
Eyecare Journalism 101
Who, What, Where, When & Why?
Welcome to Eyecare Journalism 101
Who? This article is intended for all readers, your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
Who, Part Two Who should you see to examine your eyes? There are two types of eye doctors optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Whats the difference? Depending on who you talk to, the answer will vary and may include difficult to measure parameters like thoroughness of the examination, time the doctor spent with you, cost of the exam, type of equipment used, clinical skill of the doctor, the “degree” letters that follow their name or personal biases.
Very simply, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, and eye surgery. Optometrists are optometry doctors who specialize in refractive and functional disorders of the eyes and visual system, and diagnosis and treatment of medical eye disease.
We live in a competitive marketplace, and health care is no exception. There are lots of “turf wars” between the two professions as well as lots of misinformation disseminated. Many times, the differences between the two are indistinguishable. Be leery of any doctor who seems all too willing to criticize another doctor or profession. There are many good optometrists and ophthalmologists. Fortunately, you have lots to choose from.
Whoever you see, make certain youre comfortable with the care youre receiving and that all of your questions and concerns are properly addressed. You must be able to trust your doctor. If you need eye surgery, you will be referred to an eye surgeon specializing in that particular eye disease. Most good eye surgeons specialize in their area of expertise and tend not to provide routine eye examinations.
What and Why? Your vision is your greatest sense. The better and more efficient your vision is, the easier you will be able to perform all visual tasks. Take care of your eyes. Have your eyes examined regularly to make certain you can see well at all distances, that your eyes work well together, and that your eyes are healthy and free of disease. Screenings are just that, and can never substitute for a complete comprehensive eye examination.
Where? There are eyecare providers everywhere. Many people choose a provider close to their home or place of work. Convenience is nice, but not the best reason to choose an eye doctor. Word of mouth referrals are terrific ways to help you decide. Ask questions beforehand. If you have any eyecare or vision insurance, understand what your policy includes and doesnt include. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it will be when deciding who and where to go for your eyecare needs.
When? Yearly comprehensive eye examinations are recommended for all people who wear contact lenses, do hours of computer work everyday, or are over the age of 40 when the incidence of many eye diseases and visual problems begin to increase. Anyone with a diagnosed or strong family history of an eye disease should also be examined annually, or more frequently if needed. Everyone else should probably have a comprehensive eye examination every two to three years.
Your eyes, vision and eyecare needs are whats most important. Take care of your eyes and vision.