General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Which optometrist should I use?

Asked by Cruiser (40401points) May 25th, 2011

My insurance mostly covers the big box in store eye care like Lenscrafters. Am I better paying extra to see a private practice optometrist, or will my exam and evaluation be essentially the same??

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10 Answers

Seelix's avatar

All doctors need to have the same credentials in order to be licensed. I wouldn’t expect a private practice doctor to be any better than one who works in a clinic or vice versa – I think you run the same risk of getting someone who’s super awesome or inept regardless of where you go.

I’d do the same thing with an optometrist that I’d do with a dentist, chiropractor, GP, etc. – ask around. Ask who your friends have seen and who they’d recommend, then decide based on cost and what your insurance will cover.

Just an anecdotal addition: My dad, a dentist, retired in March. All his career, he practiced alone, not in a group office or anything. Right now he’s decided to just take some time off and relax, but he hasn’t eliminated the possibility of working part-time later on in a clinic-type situation. So even if you go somewhere where many different optometrists practice, that doesn’t mean you’re getting someone unqualified. In the case with my dad, you’d be getting someone who’s practiced successfully with no lawsuits or anything for 41 years.

JLeslie's avatar

The big question is whether you need an optometrist or opthamologist. If it is a regular check up, and you don’t have any suspicion of a significant eye disease Lens Crafter should be fine.

gasman's avatar

If you want a basic refraction (fitting for lenses) and a very basic eye exam, go to any optometrist. If you want a more comprehensive medical exam of the eye in the context of other diseases (hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, etc.) then see an ophthalmologist. The latter is a medical doctor and surgeon, while an optometrist has lesser training and mainly fits lenses but can refer you to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

I agree with @Seelix‘s remarks (except for mentioning chiropractors, who are quacks by definition.)

Cruiser's avatar

I can’t read much at all now without readers. I just passed the state eye exam for driving without glasses. I am taking into consideration the ophthalmologist route though.

JLeslie's avatar

@gasman my optometrist tests for eye pressure.

Rarebear's avatar

The Lenscrafters OD have the same training as the private practice OD. You should be fine. If the glasses don’t work right, you can go back.

HungryGuy's avatar

Personally, I prefer Lenscrafters. Years ago, the situation was reversed. My insurance would pay for a private optometrist, but not Lenscrafters. So I went to an optometrist. She prescribed bifocals and even made them for me in her own lab. They were totally effed up. On one side, they put the distance prescription in the bottom, and the close up in the top. The other side, was just the wrong prescription. When I went back to her to get it replaced, she told me I would have to make a new appointment and wait for my turn again for the next available appointment. I forget her name, but she was somewhere in Somerset, NJ. So I went to Lenscrafters and paid 100% out of my pocket for a new exam and separate distance and close up glasses.

Now, I like Lenscrafters because they have all that high-tech gear to measure your eyes and taking out all the guesswork and human error… “Is this clearer, or this? (click) Is this clearer, or this? (click) Is this clearer…” Ugh!

BarnacleBill's avatar

I like being able to show up without making an appointment and be seen. I need bifocals, but have taken to wearing contacts for distance, and then cheaters from the drug store for reading. Much cheaper, does the same thing.

gasman's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I think most optometrists measure eye pressure now, which means many more people get screened for glaucoma. I think it’s because modern technology (air puff, etc.) makes it easier & doesn’t require anesthetic drops. In fact my most recent reading was done by an optometrist at Costco.

JLeslie's avatar

@gasman My optometrist does the drops also, looks at my retina, or whatever they do.

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