Central Valley struggles with eye doctor shortage

Amanda Aguilar Image
Thursday, July 7, 2022
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Eye doctors are part of the overall physician shortage happening throughout the U-S, including in the Central Valley.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Eye doctors are part of the overall physician shortage happening throughout the U.S, including in the Central Valley.

InSight Vision Center in northeast Fresno has three optometrists and three ophthalmologists. However, the eye care facility is always looking for more.

"For whatever reason, the Central Valley is lacking in the eye care industry," explained office manager Brittany Feldmann. "More eye care doctors are becoming aware of the need. So we're just trying to recruit more staff."

A shortage of eye doctors in the Valley is making it hard for InSight Vision and other eye centers to meet the patient demand.

According to Feldmann, the facility has had to cut out certain insurance companies from accepting new patients to alleviate the stress on its doctors.

"Our doctors are very busy, they're very booked," she said. "Some of them booked out months."

Feldmann pointed to more people moving to the Valley and aging residents as what's driving the demand for eye care.

"The Baby Boomers are becoming of age where they're starting to get those diagnosis like cataracts. They're starting to become more aware that their eyes are changing," Feldmann said.

She worries the shortage will ultimately impact patients, as some might have to wait months for a surgery or just a regular visit.

"The more time that passes, the worse the condition can get and it can progress to now needing surgery or more invasive interventions," said Feldmann.