Maybe. Let’s explain…
If you go to a chain eyewear or big box store for your glasses needs, chances are you probably have an eye exam with an optometrist. Optometrists are medical professionals but they’re not physicians like your family doctor is. After college, while you were back living in mom and dad’s basement figuring out what you wanted to do with your life, they were hard at work on a four-year professional program to get a doctor of optometry degree.
Optometrists are great for helping you maintain regular vision care, determine your vision prescription and get you set up with a pair of frames or contacts.
But they’re not the only kind of eye doctor. There are also ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists go to med school, go through an internship and a residency for three years or longer. When it comes to eye care, they do the works, including full medical and surgical care.
If you have glasses or contacts, you’ve probably seen an optometrist. There are more than 33,000 optometrists in the U.S. compared with more than 19,000 ophthalmologists.
So why is this important?
Some optometrists don’t know the latest on LASIK
As good as optometrists are at primary eye care, some are not up to speed on the latest in “refractive surgery technology” (i.e. LASIK and similar vision correction surgeries). Not all optometrists, not necessarily your optometrist, but some simply aren’t up-to-date on the latest advances. Of course, the same goes for ophthalmologists who don’t specialize in refractive surgery.
That’s why you want to work with a doctor who focuses on refractive surgery. For example, new technology to screen patients was launched in just the last year that allows more people than ever before to get LASIK. If your optometrist isn’t aware of these advances, they may be telling you you’re not a good candidate when you actually are.
For that reason…
It never hurts to get a second opinion
This is true of any facet of your health. Getting multiple professional opinions is never a bad idea.
It may be best for you to consult with an eye doctor who works more regularly with people like yourself who are interested in exploring all their vision correction options, not just glasses and contacts.
So while figuring out if you are or aren’t a good candidate, it’s best to talk to an expert will be able to talk you through all your options and help you make the decision that’s best for you.