Optometrists are on the frontline when it comes to maintaining good eye health.

Performing more than 10 million eye checks a year in Australia, they are the first to be called by 80% of people who have eye or vision concerns.

Cataracts 15

Optometrists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to assess visual acuity (sharpness of vision) and screen for a number of eye conditions and diseases. Early identification of problems can prevent irreversible damage and preserve eye sight.

It is recommended that every child sees an optometrist every year from preschool until 18. Then every two years as an adult, and yearly after turning 65.

So if you are seeing an optometrist this often – how do you pick a good one?

In South Australia optometry practices range from large corporate stores through to smaller independent local practices. There are many options to choose from – which can make it challenging to find the best optometrist for your needs.

The Optometrist

You should know who you will be seeing.

The optometry profession is regulated by the Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who ensure optometrists have the skills required by the Optometry Board Australia.

But meeting standards is just the start – does the optometrist have the education, experience and expertise to treat your concerns?

Sometimes you can find this information in their biography. This is where you can find out how long they’ve been practicing, if they specialise in a particular area, and what their interests are.

Having this information is handy as you may want to see an optometrist who has treated lots of dry eye patients, they may be more likely to address your dry eyes successfully.

Some people choose an optometry practice that is affiliated with their health fund. That optometrist may not have expertise in the area of concern you have. Large corporate optometry stores are often affiliated with a particular health fund – and that means they are promoted by that fund.

Any registered optometrist will allow you to claim your health fund’s optical benefits – you don’t need to choose one that’s affiliated with your particular fund.

Some optometry stores are located in shopping centres, making it easy to pop into while you are in the centre, but think about it – how often do you see your optometrist? Usually it’s once or twice every two years. So isn’t it more important to pick an optometrist that you trust and who has the expertise that you need?

Cataracts 12
Good Optom 2
The Technology and Equipment

Technology is rapidly advancing, which provides more options for more people, making them more comfortable.

Check if the optometry practice you are thinking of using offers cutting-edge technology, for instance, will they prescribe lenses that give edge-to-edge clarity with minimal distortion, or, will you be offered a more cost-effective option with older manufacturing practices that may mean you have to make compromises with your vision.

Do they have the technology to pick up small changes in your eyes that may be a precursor to disease?

Optical Products

Not all glasses lenses or contact lenses are created equal. These products are manufactured using different technology and design, so the clarity and comfort of vision provided can be different. Multifocal lenses that are cheaper may meet your initial requirements, but under certain conditions, may not perform to your expectations.

The eyewear collection to choose from should be stylish, durable and provide a good fit for your prescription and lifestyle. Independent optometrists are able to provide a good selection of frames that have been carefully chosen from multiple eyewear providers.

Good Optom 1
The Bottom Line

It is easy to go to an optometrist you walk past in the shopping centre – but while that may be convenient, shouldn’t you choose someone who you trust and who has the expertise to deliver the best vision possible for you?