Quality in Sight: How to Choose Your Eye Care Provider

Your eyes are an essential component of your health and quality of life. From what you perceive to how you communicate with others, your eyes are intricate centers of information.

Vision health is important at every stage of life. When it’s time to choose an eye doctor, your choice of provider may determine how well you see in the future.

What type of doctor do you need?

While each member of an eye care team is highly trained, you should know whether you need primary eye care, such as glasses or contact lenses, or you need someone experienced in more advanced care.

An ophthalmologist is a physician specially trained in every subspecialty of ophthalmology; these include macular, retinal and optic nerve diseases, cataracts and corneal diseases, glaucoma, eye cancers, and eye diseases in children. Ophthalmologists complete medical school and four years of training. Your ophthalmologist should be board-certified or board eligible, as determined by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Optometrists are not medical doctors, but are trained to diagnose and treat common problems, such as pink eye and even glaucoma and cataracts.  Opticians aren’t doctors, but they can fit patients with eyeglasses or contact lenses and may assist during eye exams or with prescriptions.

How does your eye care facility compare to others?
Among specialty hospitals in the United States, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute was ranked Number One for ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report in their 2018 edition. It is the 14th time in a row and the 16th time Bascom Palmer has achieved this status.

“Our patients inspire Bascom Palmer’s superb team of 1,200 doctors, scientists, nurses, ophthalmic technicians and support staff to excel in patient care, vision research, education and surgical innovation,” said Dr. Eduardo Alfonso, chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Ensuring personalized, exceptional care for each of our patients is our priority.  The fact that ophthalmologists from around the country recognize us as the best in the nation again and again is a great honor.”

Do they have a proven commitment to research and innovation?

Bascom Palmer is one of the first academic institutions to initiate the American Academy of Ophthalmology IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) – the nation’s first comprehensive eye disease and condition registry. IRIS integrates with electronic health records and allows physicians and surgeons to share clinical data. Upon review of this huge body of information, ophthalmologists can compare their performance against benchmarks and ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients in the delivery of eye care.

The rankings will be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2018 guidebook and are accessible online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals.