What Is the Job of an Optometrist?
An optometrist’s primary responsibility is to conduct comprehensive eye exams and provide diagnostic interpretations. They diagnose and treat ocular disease, assess binocular function, prescribe, fit, and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, and recommend other vision aids. In addition, they recommend patient follow-ups and personalized care options.
A complete comprehensive eye exam assesses the following:
- Refractive Conditions (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia)
- Ocular motility (tracking skills)
- Focusing Ability
- Binocularity (eye coordination)
- Eye health conditions (such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts)
- Dry Eye Syndrome
Do Optometrists Diagnose Eye Problems?
Optometrists are critical, not only for diagnosing eye-related problems but are essential in early detection of numerous health concerns in the body. For example, our eyes often show symptoms of non-eye-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormone imbalance and brain tumors. Even for adults, whether you wear corrective lenses or not, annual checkups to detect eye complications are highly recommended.
- Eye Diseases are Common, but Preventative: Did you know that 1 in 7 Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime? However, 75% of vision loss can be prevented or treated with proper care.
- Catching Life Threatening Conditions: Did you know, an eye exam can help detect potentially life threatening conditions, like brain tumours, high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes? Your eyes can show signs of tumors, aneurysms, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, sickle cell disease, liver disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological or brain disorders.
- Child Eye Care: Just 1 out of every 7 preschooler receives an eye exam and fewer than 1 out of every 4 receives some type of vision screening. The CDC recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to help find conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (eye turn), which can be treated effectively, if caught early.
- Preventing Visual Issues: An estimated 11 million Americans aged 12 years and older could see better if they used corrective lenses, or had eye surgery, when appropriate.
When Should a Child First See an Optometrist?
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends a child’s first exam by 6 months of age, again at 3 years, and every year after that time. This is because it is important that any potential sight-threatening condition be caught early to prevent blindness and to allow your child’s vision to achieve its maximum potential. Children’s eye exams should be performed annually until they are 18 years old.
However, if you have a family history of ocular problems, or if you notice any of the below behavioural signs, we highly recommend booking before the yearly eye exam.
Behavioural Signs of Visual Problems
- Squints, closes, or covers one eye.
- Tilts head while doing activities that are near (50cm+ away from eyes).
- Feels objects rather than looking at objects.
- Avoids looking at books and puzzles, prefers toys they can handle.
- Holding books too close to their face or holding their face too close to a desk surface.
- Sitting very close to the TV (when repeatedly moved back).
- Cannot stay within the lines when colouring (age dependent) or ignores the lines when colouring.
How Do I Find the Best Optometrist?
If you are looking for a new pediatric optometrist, or kids eye doctor, asking family and friends for recommendations is a good first step. However, just like selecting any other type of health care professional, it is a personal choice that needs to work long-term for you and your family. Luckily a lot of the qualifications you would look for when seeking a new optometrist for adults are the same when looking for a pediatric optometrist. Meaning once you find a great optometrist, they are somewhere you can take your entire family to with confidence. Read on to see our 6 tips on what to consider when looking for the best optometrist for your needs.
6 Tips & Considerations for Choosing the Best Pediatric Optometrist
1. Confirm the Pediatric Optometrist Credentials
As a parent, time is particularly precious. You can save yourself a lot of time by relying on reputable sites such as ThreeBestRated, that rank, review, and list the Top 3 Pediatric Optometrists. Every year, experts at ThreeBestRated recommend the Top 3 Pediatric Optometrists in Burnaby, BC and put all pediatric eye doctors through a rigorous 50-Point Inspection which includes the below. Your child deserves only the best!
- General excellence
2. Does the Pediatric Optometrist Provide an Easy Check-list?
Symptoms may present while your children are at school and teachers have to keep their eyes on many children at once. Teachers are not likely trained to know what to look for in order to catch visual concerns, particularly those that can present as behavioural rather than physical symptoms. If you suspect your children are experiencing symptoms, an easy check-list provided by the pediatric optometrist can make your life as a parent substantially easier. This ensures that the correct information is being conveyed to the optometrist when you go for your appointment. Here is a quick vision checklist for young children:
Appearance of the Eyes
- One eye turns in, out, up or down at any time.
- Reddened eyes or eyelids.
- Eyes tear excessively.
- Excessive blinking.
- Rubs eyes frequently during or after short periods of visual activity.
3. Read the Optometrist “Meet the Team” Page
When choosing a health professional, the “Meet the Team” page is an underutilized resource for parents. You can quickly assess their credentials, and get an idea of their personality, skills, and clinic atmosphere prior to visiting.
4. Read Reviews of Optometrists
Whether you intend to read a number of individual reviews, or are only interested in their overall rating, Google reviews can help provide the piece of mind that you are taking your children to a caring, professional, and helpful optometrist. Be sure to look at the “People often mention” words that will give you an overall sense of the reviews without reading each one.
In addition to Google reviews, RateMD provides customer reviews with a 5-star rating that assesses the staff, punctuality, helpfulness, and knowledge.
5. Does the Optometrist Directly Bill for Vision Insurance?
Optometry insurance coverage can be complicated and often overwhelming. If the optometrist makes your life easier by dealing with the nuances of submitting your claim directly to your insurance company, this is a substantial benefit. The best optometrists should provide a list on their website of where they can directly bill, allowing you to confirm coverage prior to booking your kids eye exam.
6. Convenience, Convenience, Convenience
While your child is younger, more frequent eye exams are recommended. So selecting a nearby pediatric optometrist that has an office in a convenient location, with free and accessible parking, and good office hours will add a lot of convenience into your life. Another consideration for the parent-on-the-go, is selecting an office location that is centralized and near other stores. This helps facilitate getting your never-ending errands and appointments completed without having you driving all over the city. Consider being able to run to a grocery store, make a clothing return, and grab a quick bite, all while your child is having their eye exam.
Why Real Eyes Optometry is the Best Pediatric Optometrist
Real Eyes Optometry has been voted Top 3 Pediatric Optometrist 3 years in a row!
We are a family-run, full scope optometry office that strives to provide the highest level of service. With over 30 years of experience, we continue to add the latest technology so that patients can come to us for all their eye needs. Dr. Shaun Pati provides a comprehensive evaluation that includes your child’s refractive status, binocular vision system, and ocular health – all while keeping a smile on their face. His calm and comforting manner makes him great with kids, and the parents of his pediatric patients can attest to that. He is currently accepting families and patients of all ages, including kids!