Choosing an Eye Doctor

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Choosing an Eye Doctor


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care.


How to choose an eye doctor

An ophthalmologist is trained to diagnoses and treat eye diseases. They performs eye surgery such as cataract removal. They can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.

It is recommend that you see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam starting at around age 40, sooner if you have problems.

It is especially important for older people to have their eyes checked for any signs of age-related eye problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts.

Ophthalmologists confused with Optometrists and Opticians

Optometrists are not medical doctors. An optometrist receives a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from an optometry school. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses. They are trained to detect some eye abnormalities and can prescribe some medications.

Opticians are technicians trained to verify and fit eyeglass and contact lenses to correct eyesight. They rely on prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists. They do not perform vision tests. They are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.

♦ Most health insurance plans cover a visit to an ophthalmologist as a medical related visit subject to specialist copay amounts.

The coverage is generally limited to a health exam of the eyes and does not cover testing for a prescription or the dispensing of eye glasses.

A few employer sponsored group plans are now covering testing for a prescription which is billed under the term refraction.

• Testing for a prescription usually runs around $40 at an ophthalmologist.

♦ Most health insurance plans do not cover a visit to an optometrist because they are not medical doctors.

All plans at the Marketplace include vision coverage for children. The coverage usually partially covers eye exams and eye glasses.

Only a few plans at the Marketplace include vision coverage for adults.

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