Finding a doctor that looks like me

Connection, connection, connection. The key to a successful doctor-patient relationship is making a solid connection. So, finding the right doctor for you is extremely important.

Some doctors make connections with patients easier and quicker than others. Some doctors can form honest connections regardless of the barriers that exist between us. But there are also doctors who do not work to break those barriers to form that bond with patients that are different from them. To break these barriers takes a lot of dedicated time and effort.

Most doctors are competent because the training and professional organizations are good at making sure doctors know the same information and practice with the same basic standard. Obviously, some will be more knowledgeable, have more experience, have more skill, etc. but the average provider is going to be competent. So this brings us back to connection.

Connection becomes even more important because if your doctor is competent or even brilliant but you have a poor relationship, good advice and care can be easily lost. So finding the right doctor for you starts with finding a doctor that you can connect with.

Searching black doctor near me is one of the most common starting points. Asking friends to recommend someone is also common. Using the find a doctor near me tool on your insurance website is another way.

Since I am an eye doctor I am interested in helping people find their own right eye doctor. So searches like black eye doctor near me, black ophthalmologist near me, black optometrist near me, African American eye doctor near me, African American ophthalmologist near me, and African American optometrist near me are helpful for finding black eye care providers.

However, this is just the beginning and does not fully give you all the information you need to find the right doctor for you. The best way to navigate through the overload of information and break down or go around barriers is to have a plan. This find a black eye doctor plan makes finding the right eye doctor for you easier and simpler by giving you inside knowledge and experience.

Find an African American eye doctor plan:

  1. Find your ophthalmologist or optometrist before you really absolutely need one
  2. Contact professional organizations for a list of providers in your area- national optometric association, national medical association 
  3. Search
  4. If you have medical insurance, use their search tool to find an eye doctor in your area to see which doctors you found accept your insurance 

Since there is inequity throughout the eyecare profession (3% of optometrists and ophthalmologists identify as African American while African Americans make up 13% of the population) many people are not going to be seeing a doctor who look like them. There are people working on this problem, like the Black Eyecare Perspectives and the David K. McDonogh Scholarship, but much more is needed for true equity. So, until there is true equity, you can find allies, real professionals, and culturally sensitive eye doctors to provide that important connection.

This is part b of the find an African American eye doctor plan which can be adjusted to find an eye doctor that honestly connects with me plan

  1. Use find an eye doctor near me search, insurance search tool website, recommendation from social connections
  2. A good doctor regardless of their own background can be culturally sensitive but you must expect this sensitivity and not settle for anything less
  3. When you see the eye doctor, ask questions to find out how sensitive that person is to your concerns. Use the visit as an opportunity to learn specifically information about your eyes. Think of the visit as a minicourse about your eye and its journey so far and possible journey in the future.
  4. The main basic question you can ask is what is my best corrected vision(the vision measurement in your glasses or contact lenses) and if it is not 20/20(which is normal vision) then ask why your vision is not 20/20.
  5. If the eye doctor is interested in educating you with honesty, respect and cultural sensitivity then start making a connection with that provider.

Always start your eye doctor connection with a little research beforehand. Do not just walk into the first optical you see. Also, check out any recommendations from your friends and family by verifying credentials online. Bipoc communities have suffered from people misrepresenting themselves and preying upon the vulnerabilities of these communities that have resulted from generations of inequity.

You are entitled to all your medical information. Always ask for a copy of your glasses prescription so that you can order glasses online or shop around multiple optical stores to find the best frame for your face and budget. If the eye doctor does not want to give you a copy of your prescription, then tell them you are entitled to receive it legally. After you then get your prescription, move on to another eye doctor to find one that treats you properly and with respect and honesty.

Find an African American (BIPOC) Eye Doctor Plan

Step 1: Ask family and friends for recommendations 

Step 2: Pick optometrist or ophthalmologist 

Step 3: Search with your zipcode in

Step 4: Search your insurance website for eye doctor near me if you want to use your insurance 

Step 5: Make an appointment 

Step 6: Think about what you want to know about your eyes and ask questions at your visit

Step 7: Ask 1 question after your visit: Do you feel cared for and respected?

Step 8: If there is a connection, see your provider yearly. If there is not a connection, repeat the steps next year with a different provider until you find the right one for you.