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Welcome to Capital Eye – What to Consider when Choosing an Optometrist

This week, we look at what you should consider when choosing an optometrist for you and your family.

In the ACT, there are roughly around 40 optometry practices range from large corporate stores and smaller independent local businesses. We are blessed with choices and often are confusing when choosing one that is best suited to your needs.

The Optometrist

This sounds obvious that when picking an optometrist, we should know who were are seeing. Let me ask you this. What was the name of your last optometrist? Where did he/she do his/her training? If you are having trouble recalling whom you saw at your last eye examination, it could be a sign that they are probably not a good fit for your needs.

Optometry is a health profession that is regulated by the Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA ). AHPRA ensures all optometrist met the skills required set by Optometry Board Australia (OBA). It is obvious that just meeting the standards alone does not demonstrate the experience and the interest your optometrist has. Therefore, it is worth considering picking an optometrist that has the level of expertise required to address your concerns. You can often find this information from their biography; how many years in practice? What were their modes of practice? What are their interests? For example, an optometrist who has worked and seen many dry eye patients in the past are more likely to address your issues with dry eyes successfully.

Many of us are driven to a particular optometry practice from the advice and affiliation of our health funds. This often does not address your core reasoning why you’re making an appointment to see your optometrist. Large corporate optometry practices often have affiliations to certain health funds and are heavily promoted within each other’s network. Any optometrist can provide you with a prescription for your glasses, contact lenses and other eyewear products. You can go to any registered optometrist to claim your optical benefits that don’t necessarily need to be affiliated with your health fund.

Your last optometrist may be conveniently located in a shopping mall that you can pop by during your weekly grocery shopping. While it’s nice to have someone nearby ask yourself; how often would you need to visit an optometrist? On average, it’s probably once or twice every two years. It is more important to pick an optometrist whom you trust and resonate with. It is not that much of an inconvenience to drive out of your way once a year to look after one of the most important senses you have.

The Technology and Equipment

We live in a world that our technology is rapidly changing. The way we practice and the advancement in scientific research is happening at an unprecedented rate. As a result, this changes the way we practice and the advice we give to our patients. This depends on the practice philosophy whether it is their mission and values to offer cutting-edge lenses which provide edge-to-edge clarity with minimal distortion or to offer a more economical and a cost-effective option which often translates to compromises to your vision.

The practice that you choose to attend should be well equipped for your optometrist to practice their profession. Imagine in your profession if you weren’t given the right tools to do your task, how would you offer the same level of service expected of you? The equipment and the room set-up their employers provide may not suit the needs of the optometrist. The optometrist is then forced to adapt to using this equipment at the same time to provide the level of service you deserve.

The Optical Products and Appliances

We are constantly bombarded by prices and products on the internet, TV, radio and other mediums. Let me tell you this, not all lenses, contact lenses and other optical products are created equal. Multifocal lenses in the market start from $150 to well over $1000 per pair. This is equivalent of saying that I can get a car from $5000 to well over $50 000. The products are different in technology, design and the clarity and comfort of vision it provides. It is important to know which brand of multifocal lenses you would get from $150, just as important as knowing what type of car you would get for $5000. Quite often, multifocal lenses starting at $150 are home in-house brand lenses are quite basic. While it may meet your requirements, it could explain why, under certain conditions, your glasses may not be performing to your expectations.

The Bottom Line

We are spoilt with choices. It is easy to go to an optometrist you’ve heard on the ad or as you’re walking past the shops in the mall. When it comes to your eyes, we believe it is important to see someone whom you trust and truly connect with. He/she would place your care above all else, and when that happens, you know you’re well looked after.