The Cleveland Clinic

A Visit to the Eye Doctor

Because of the value of sight, it is important to be proactive in your eye health. Taking a role in maintaining your sight and preventing its loss includes choosing a health-care provider best suited for your needs -- one that has the right training and experience, can give proper diagnosis and treatment, is informative, promotes the best possible outcome, and guides their care through genuine concern.

Getting started: How to choose an optometrist or ophthalmologist

  • Qualifications. Having a solid set of credentials is one quality indicator of a good health care provider. Making sure that the professional has the proper and adequate training to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease can help you decide which doctor will best serve your eye health needs. Both your optometrist, OD, and ophthalmologist, DO or MD, should be certified through an accredited medical institution and be licensed to practice through the respective state board of optometry or state medical board. Ophthalmologists should, in addition, have internship and residential experience. Certificates and licensures should be displayed in conspicuous areas. You may confirm their credentials through the appropriate state board prior to your visit.