What to Look for in an Eye Doctor Near Me

Most people still find an eye doctor the old fashioned way: sticking with the eye doctor they went to as a kid. Recently, there is a rising trend of people venturing out to try a new eye doctor. Most are finding this eye doctor by searching Google for an “eye doctor near me.” While this is a good start, it may not always lead you to the best conclusions. In this article I will go over what to look for when searching for an “eye doctor near me.”

Eye Doctor Near Me

So, to have this conversation we first need to find out what shows up with the search “eye doctor near me.” Google’s map listings will be based primarily on your physical location when performing the search, meaning that search prioritizes what is close as opposed to looking for the “best eye doctor near me.” It also will not account for the vision clinic’s selection of frames. So, while an “eye doctor near me” search will get you a list of the practices in your area, it doesn’t give you the full picture of your options. I recommend diving deeper into your options.

Researching a Vision Clinic in BA or a Vision Clinic in Tulsa

Researching a vision clinic in Broken Arrow or a vision clinic in Tulsa is fairly challenging in my opinion. As of today, there are 7 Broken Arrow vision clinics and well over 20 Tulsa vision clinics. Most of these clinics spend very little on marketing, mainly because of an industry norm surrounding that expense, but also because as online competition has risen, eye doctors have been forced to decrease their profit margins, leaving less money for advertising.

Is the Vision Clinic Busy?

First, you will want to find out if the vision clinic is busy. My advice is to start with reviews and see who has a large number of reviews. Now, this concept will unfairly punish newer vision clinics because a clinic with 210 reviews in 3 years is probably more active than a vision clinic that receives 30 reviews per year on average. My advice here is to look at the amount of reviews as well as what those reviews have looked like over the last month. That will give you an idea if the vision clinic has much patient traffic.

Staff Photos

A photo of staff can be a good tell when it comes to a clinic’s traffic. The larger the staff, the larger the patient base must be to justify their size, right? Not always. I have heard of some offices inviting their employees’ spouses to be in the “staff” photo in order to feign staff size. It’s best to find a balance when it comes to size anyway, because while you want the clinic to respect your time and get you through the exam process quickly, you don’t want them to herd you through like a piece of meat. I’ll provide advice on how to make sure you aren’t being treated like cattle further in this article, but this should give you an idea on whether or not the vision clinic is busy.

BA vision clinic with a large selection of frames and a n Eye Doctor Coweta

Large Selection of Frames

Having a large selection of frames is a must in my opinion. You don’t want to go into a Broken Arrow vision center that only has a couple hundred frames to choose from. My Broken Arrow vision center has about 2,000 frames to choose from, but some other offices I’ve visited only stock about 300.

One Vision Frame Mix

Generally, I keep my frame ratio at about 1,000 for females, about 700 for males, and about 300 for kids. It blew my mind the first time I walked into a competitor’s business and saw about 300 frames total. I thought, “Okay, maybe 150 for females, 100 for males, and 50 for kids. That means about 25 unisex kid styles, 15 girl styles and 10 boy styles. That does not give many options to choose from.” I understand the cost of having a large frame selection, but people want to have some options. People come in thousands of styles, so shouldn’t I carry that many frames?

My Optical Shop Mindset

I have tried to structure my frame selection from this mindset: “If you can’t find a frame you want here, then you didn’t come in wanting to buy a frame.” Our shop’s large selection leads to patients of other eye doctors near me coming to us to buy glasses. You can find out if other Broken Arrow vision centers have a large selection of frames by calling or by checking out their website and social medias. Again, if they don’t have many pictures to show things off, it probably means they don’t have much to show off.

Here is a link to a post about the difference between a vision clinic and optical shop.

Optometrist Open on Saturdays

The Optometrist’s Saturday hours are another thing to consider. I have started seeing more and more vision clinics open on Saturdays. You of course want the vision center nearby to have convenient hours.

It’s amazing how often I see eye doctors with scattered hours like 8-1 on Monday, 10-4 on Tuesday, 9-6 on Wednesday, 1-5 on Thursday, 1-5 on Friday, and closed on Saturday/Sunday. I like to refer to these as “catch me if you can” hours. I always wonder how the staff or the eye doctor can remember what time to be at work each day. While I am sure these hours are very convenient for the eye doctor, it can be extremely frustrating for the patient. You better call before pulling up to pick up your glasses, because it’s a 50/50 shot the office will even be open.

With hours like that, I question if they really want to be at work. Now, they may have several kids with lots of extracurricular activities, but they could always hire another eye doctor to help fill the hours they have committed to outside work activities.

Best Eye Doctor Near Me

How do you objectively determine who the best eye doctor in your area is? I mean, how do you really know who the best eye doctor is? This is a challenging question. Do you look at academic performance? Decide that the biggest brain must be the best? Maybe community service? Decide that the biggest heart must be the best? The problem with these lines of thought is that the doctor with the biggest brain may be an arrogant jerk, while the doctor with the biggest heart may have barely graduated.

What to Look for in an Eye Doctor

When I look into the eye doctors around Tulsa and Broken Arrow, I find that nearly all of us graduated from the same school. So, it is reasonable to speculate we all had very similar training. While I graduated with honors in 2013, another eye doctor near me graduated with honors in 2012. Unless the two of us sat down and dueled it out academically, there would be no way to know which of us is smarter, at least when it comes to optometry. Likewise, if I volunteer to read to local elementary school students while that same eye doctor near me volunteers to help at the Special Olympics, there is no way to know which of us is more generous with our time.

Personality is the Key

My suggestion is to go with the personality that matches yours. Find the eye doctor in broken arrow that talks to patients how you want to be talked to by your eye doctor. The best to right that connection is by watching videos they have created and hearing them discuss and explain things. You can tell quickly in a video if someone is passionate about what they are talking about.

Now good actors can pull the wool over your eyes and look passionate about everything, but the eye doctor near me is probably not that well trained in acting. Watch the videos they have created on Facebook or YouTube. By now most businesses should have at least a few videos of the eye doctor talking about things.

If they are behind on the times in the social media arena it could mean they are behind on the times with the vision clinic as well. While some instruments eye doctors use haven’t changed in 100 years some have changed in the last 5 years. A big sign they may behind on the times is if they do the puff of air test. In my opinion that test should have gone the way of the dinosaur in fact when I went through medical school they didn’t even teach us how to use that instrument!

Eye Doctor in Network with My Insurance

Finding an eye doctor in network with my insurance should be an easy part, but recently some things have changed to make it more challenging. Logic would suggest that every eye doctor would want to take every insurance because that would give them the largest patient base. That actually isn’t the case.

In Network with all Vision Insurances

I am not in network with every vision insurance and the reason is quite simple. Some insurance companies try and control too many steps in the process. There is one insurance that I am currently in network with that I am planning to drop in the near future. The reason is that I have had to work with 3 very upset patients over the last year because of that insurance.

This insurance company tells me exactly who I can get my lenses from and exactly what the lens design will be. This means I can’t choose a quality lens design for my patient. This also means I can’t pull my business from that vendor if they underperform. This allows that vendor to make numerous mistakes with no risk. I have no control of the quality of the product or how quickly I can get it for my patient. This leads to an understandably frustrated patient. If you are having a hard time finding an eye doctor in network with my insurance the problem may be the vision insurance my be trying to control the eye doctor near me.

Are they Really in Network with my Vision Insurance?

The other aspect that can happen is they claim to be in network with your vision insurance but actually are not. The eye doctor has you pay the full price of the eye exam, glasses, or contact lenses and then you submit an out of network claim with your vision insurance. While this is doable it is fairly annoying to jump through this extra hoop. It also leads the question of if the broken arrow vision center is willing to lie about this to make a buck what else will they lie about. An easy way to find out if someone is in network with my insurance is to go to your insurances websites and search for the broken arrow vision center or Tulsa eye doctor.  

BA Vision Clinic or Tulsa Vision Clinic

As the owner of a BA Vision clinic that is right on the border of being a Tulsa vision clinic. I had the following question from my childhood. Should  you avoid the small towns that may be behind on the times and drive to the big towns who have to supposedly compete more and will give you a better eye doctor and better selection or stay local.

Old Concepts from my Childhood

Now that was a concept I heard when I was in high school. People would say go to the bigger town business to get better care and products. The idea was because there is more competition those eye doctors have to compete on price more. While that may have been true 20 years ago that isn’t the case today. The reason is that most eye doctors are members of buying groups that get volume discounts. These buying groups have the purchasing power from hundreds of businesses across the country.

Also, Vision insurances set the prices on most of the products. Therefore, you will pay the same no matter what vision center you visit. Since most people go to the eye doctor once a year. My advice is to find an eye doctor near me but also be willing to commute a little ways. If the eye doctor is doing all the things I have discussed in this article the way you think they should be done be willing to drive 30 minutes to see them. In my opinion it would be better to drive 30 minutes to see someone you like than to drive 15 minutes to have an hour long exam with someone you dislike.

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dr Thirion a pediatric eye doctor in broken arrow doing a pediatric eye exam