As a consumer, it is sometimes difficult to find a great plumber, landscaper, hair stylist, or babysitter; one that you trust completely to provide the best services and who are experts at their craft. But what about when it comes to something as important as our eyes and our vision? Maybe you have relied on the recommendation of a work colleague, a friend, or a family member to find your last eye doctor. Your colleague, friend, or family can judge an eye doctor based on their courteousness, promptness, and personality. But if you are looking for a top eye doctor, how do you know if that translates into being the best doctor?
Time & Attention
Far and away, the most important characteristic of a good doctor is one who pays attention to your needs. Your eye doctor is your advocate. You are seeing her because you want her to focus her years of training and experience into what will improve your life and your vision. The best doctor will take the time to hear your concerns and to not rush you through an examination. They will look you in the eyes and have true compassion for your situation. Do you have contact lenses that are not perfectly comfortable? Are your glasses not tuned for excellent distance vision? Do you have an eye condition that needs attention?
Show Me a Man’s Incentive…
Recently in eye care and other parts of medicine, large companies have been swallowing up doctors as employees. When the doctor becomes an employee of a large company, the employee is beholden to the policies of that company.
On the other hand, independent doctors in private practice have a different motivator. The goal of an eye doctor in private practice is to take care of you and your family for years into the future. Independent doctors in private practice set their own schedule when it comes to frequency of appointments and are not beholden to administrators jamming their schedules with more and more patients. If they don’t take the best care of their patients, they don’t last very long in private practice.
Training, Experience, and Leadership
The top eye doctors are active within their professional organizations. Professional organizations create standards by which all doctors strive to achieve as well as a network of referral sources. A great eye doctor realizes that they are not an expert in every area of eye care such as glaucoma, retina, contact lenses, binocular vision, or pediatric vision. When a patient has a problem, being connected to a professional organization allows doctors to develop the personal relationships with other experts to provide the best quality of care for their patients. Look for an eye doctor who is active within the American Optometric Association, American Academy of Optometry, American Board of Optometry, or the local optometry organizations.
How Can I Identify a Top Eye Doctor?
The famed Harvard Medical School surgeon, Atul Gawande, said, “Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.” The doctors who have been chosen and elected to be in the Well EyeCare network have all achieved a level of professional distinction and are known by their colleagues to embody the ideals that Dr. Gawande describes. They realize that the most important asset to their practices is their wonderful patients and making themselves accessible to new patients is mandatory.