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Old 03.05.2011, 01:59
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Opthalmologist vs. Optometrist

I'm starting to have vision problems that I really don't think are related to my specs. I need to see someone soon-ish, but I'm not sure who, or how such things work here.

(After 13 years here I should know this stuff, but... )

Can one go to an opthamologist directly, or does one generally need a referral? And if so, should I first go to my GP, or to the optometrist who made my specs?

And, can anyone recommend an opthamologist in the Höfe, March or Einsiedeln (SZ) areas? I could even go pretty much anywhere along the 'other end' of the Zürichsee, say from Horgen to Rapperswil to Meilen - but I'd like to avoid going into Zürich city.

I've looked at the doktor.ch site, but was hoping for a recommendation.

Many thanks.
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Old 03.05.2011, 06:06
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I'm starting to have vision problems that I really don't think are related to my specs. I need to see someone soon-ish, but I'm not sure who, or how such things work here.

(After 13 years here I should know this stuff, but... )

Can one go to an opthamologist directly, or does one generally need a referral? And if so, should I first go to my GP, or to the optometrist who made my specs?
It depends on your insurance, but even with the family doctor model I have, I don't need a referral for an opthamologist, which is who I'd recommend seeing. I think you can just make your own appointment. I'm in Lausanne, so can't recommend anyone, sorry. But I'd ask my GP for a name if I were you.
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Old 03.05.2011, 09:23
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Re: Opthamologist vs. Optometrist

Sorry Meloncollie, I myself and not yet sure "how it works" here, so far as whether you need referral for insurance purposes, in the US it was dependent upon the type of insurance you have, I imagine it is similar here.

Generally though, it is a good idea to ask the optometrist you regularly visit for a recommendation at least (if not an actual referral) about opthamologist as often they'll have a good working relationship with specific ones so if you need follow-up care, communication between the two would be good.

Also, the staff where you purchase your glasses probably has some good ideas about which are the "better" opthamologists to visit as they'll often get feedback from mutual patients. They'll usually have heard which has most helpful / knowledgeable office staff and they'll have seen who has attentive relationships with their patients as many afflictions affect vision and of course eye surgeries do as well, what I mean is that the opticians and other staff will know which doctors are good about providing updated prescriptions as healing progresses and things like that.
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Old 03.05.2011, 12:59
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Re: Opthamologist vs. Optometrist

I recently went to my opticians and asked their opinion about an eye problem and they gave me a list of ophthalmologists in the area and recommended three in particular. It wasn't a referral, and I didn't mention them when I made the appointment.

It was slightly different from your case, as I'd gone to the opticians for a check up, been asked to check something with my psychiatrist before they checked my eyes, (concern over my medication), and based on what my psychiatrist said I went back to the opticians (without an appointment), and the opticians said 'Oh no, you need to see an ophthalmologist in that case', and printed me out a list.

I have to say this was much more efficient than my doctor, who, when I ask for specialists, looks through a tatty folder and scribbles out some names on a post-it note...

And about 6 months ago I asked my doctor for the name of an ophthalmologist, she did just that, gave me 3 names - one only worked with kids, one wasn't taking on any new patients, and the other was permanently engaged!

So I'd say go to your opticians. They are more likely to be able to recommend you specific people for your problem... and if they're anything like mine you won't have to book an appointment (or pay) to get the referral you need.

Hope that helps!

p.s. My optician also told me that I *might* be able to get the ophthalmologist to 'prescribe' my glasses (because I have a problem with my eyes apart from myopia which requires correction by prisms in the lenses), so that the insurance company does have to pay something... despite the change in the law. As it turned out I didn't need new glasses so I didn't ask. But it might be worth asking.
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Old 03.05.2011, 13:28
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Re: Opthamologist vs. Optometrist

I started out with my doctor because I wasn't sure if it was an infection in my eyes but he recommended I try an opthalmologist, which I did, but there I didn't mention that I had first seen my doctor.

I think it all depends on your insurance. My colleague in the office has to go first to her doctor before she goes to see a specialist but my insurance seems to be pretty free and easy about me picking and choosing my own doctors when I have a specific problem.
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Old 03.05.2011, 13:44
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Re: Opthamologist vs. Optometrist

Actually, a lot of opthalmologists share a cabinet with optometrists, my optho here hires a young optometrist that actually sees every patient before seeing him. So, I wouldn't go through GP either (mine is not so up to date either, Vlh22, have been the most successful using a google as a reference, not an actual village GP), but directly to an opthalmologist who will then refer you to usually the best optometrist they know.

(on the other hand, I have a bad experience with an optometrist who is not so experienced, and every single time over diagnoses, not knowing sometimes underdiagnosing is the only way to deal with severe myopia, some astigmatism,etc. Young optometrist will often want to correct, at all times, eventhough it is sometimes smarter not to overcorrect).

Pegs, when are you gona have your deg recognized so I can use you as my optometrist? Cmon, I would go all the way to Basel to an ace optometrist!
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Last edited by MusicChick; 03.05.2011 at 14:43.
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Old 03.05.2011, 13:57
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Re: Opthalmologist vs. Optometrist

I can recommend, although you'll have to see if the address suits you.: http://www.augenarztpraxis-degen.ch/...d=10&Itemid=14

Keep in mind there is often a several months wait to see an eye doctor (unfortunately).

Edit: if the problem is urgent they do do their best to take you asap.
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Old 03.05.2011, 20:42
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Re: Opthamologist vs. Optometrist

Thanks everyone!

Sounds like it's a good idea to start at the optometrist for an opthalmologist recommendation; it's fairly easy to see him on short notice, unlike my GP.

I'm not worried about insurance issues, I can see any doctor for ambulant care - more wondering whether opthalmologists here generally require a referral from a GP/OD to see a new patient. (Mixed experience with other specialists.)


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Actually, a lot of opthalmologists share a cabinet with optometrists, my optho here hires a young optometrist that actually sees every patient before seeing him.
Wish we had this set-up around here; this is what I am used to back home. One goes to an eye clinic, one-stop shopping for all you eye-related needs. But here it seems you go to an optical shop for your vision tests and specs, to your GP for simple infections, to an Augenarzt for medical diseases. When you don't know what the problem is, it's hard to know where to turn.

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Pegs, when are you gona have your deg recognized so I can use you as my optometrist? Cmon, I would go all the way to Basel to an ace optometrist!
I'll second this!

Peg, your knowledge and experience is impressive, and has been of great help. If you do decide to go back to the profession do let us all know. I, too, would travel to Basel.

---

By the bye, thanks to the mod who fixed my horrific spelling. I'll blame it on my diminished vision; I'm relying on touch typing at the moment. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 11.05.2011, 15:26
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Re: Opthalmologist vs. Optometrist

So, an update for any of you living in my neck of the woods looking for an Opthalmologist...

Took the good advice of the posters here and asked for recommendations from the folks who made my specs and from a friend, both recommended Dr. Frei in Pfäffikon SZ (also has a practice in Einsiedeln):

http://www.augenarzt-praxis.ch/

Very professional, very thorough, upon hearing my bumbling German he switched seamlessly into English.
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Old 11.05.2011, 15:33
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Re: Opthalmologist vs. Optometrist

Yeah, but what was the diagnosis? Hope all's OK...
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