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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about my appointment

My eyes don't hurt and my vision is clear. Why should I have an eye exam?

Regular eye exams are an invaluable tool in maintaining your eyes’ health by detecting and preventing disease. Some diseases, such as glaucoma, develop gradually without causing pain or vision loss – so you may not notice anything wrong until significant and irreversible damage has been done. Early detection of any problems can allow for a choice of treatment options or prevent further harm.

How long will my appointment take?

Appointment times vary depending on the type of appointment.  A full exam can take 1-2 hours.  This includes the time needed to check your glasses prescription and to dilate your eyes.  Some follow-up appointments may be as quick as 15 minutes.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Please bring with you a photo ID, all of your insurance cards, and a list of your current medications.  If required by your insurance company, also bring a referral from you primary care doctor and/or any co-payment needed at the time of service. 

If you are being seen for the first time or it has been over a year since your last appointment, please also print from this website the:

Completing these forms prior to your appointment will save you time on the day of your appointment.  If you are unable to print the forms, they can also be completed at the time of your appointment.

Be sure to also bring any glasses or contact lenses you are currently wearing.

Will my eyes be dilated, and if so, why?

Your ophthalmologist will determine whether your eyes need to be dilated.  This is to allow the doctor to have a better view of the retina and optic nerve.  All routine exams include a dilated eye exam to allow the ophthalmologist to assess the overall health of your eye.

Will having my eyes dilated affect my vision?

You may experience light sensitivity and blurred vision after having your eyes dilated.  The blurred vision will make it more difficult to read up close.  Your distance vision is not significantly affected and most patients have no trouble driving after their appointment.  If you have a pair of sunglasses, you may want to bring it with you to help reduce the light sensitivity after your appointment.  If not, our office can provide you a temporary pair of sunglasses to go home with.

How long will my eyes stay dilated?

Everybody’s eyes will react differently to the dilating drops.  On average, we say that your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours after your appointment.

Common Eye Conditions

What is a cataract? Who is at risk for developing them?

A cataract is a cloudy area in the normally clear lens in the front of the eye. Cataracts aren't painful, but they do cause symptoms, including:

  • Blurred/hazy vision
  • Loss of color perception
  • Sensitivity to glare
  • A feeling of a “film” over the eye(s)

People at risk for developing cataracts include those who are over 55, have had eye injuries or disease, have a family history of cataracts, smoke cigarettes or use certain medications.

How are cataracts treated?

Vision loss from cataracts can often be improved with prescription glasses and contact lenses. For people whose vision cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses because of a significant cataract, cataract surgery may be the preferred method of treatment. Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the country. During this procedure, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens or IOL.

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What are the symptoms of dry eye and how is it treated?

“Dry eye” often occurs during the natural aging process. It can also form as a result of eyelid or blinking problems, certain medications such as antihistamines and oral contraceptives, climate (low humidity, wind, dust), injury, and various health problems such as arthritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes
  • A burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes
  • Blurred vision

In addition to being uncomfortable, dry eye can damage eye tissue, scar the cornea and impair vision. Dry eye is not preventable, but it can be controlled before harm is done to your eyes.

Treatment can take many forms. Non-surgical methods include blinking exercises, increasing humidity at home or work, and use of artificial tears or moisturizing ointment. If these methods fail, small punctal plugs may be inserted in the corners of the eyes to limit tear drainage, or the drainage tubes in the eyes may be surgically closed.

What is glaucoma? Am I at risk?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises high enough to damage the optic nerve. Symptoms include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, halo effects around lights and painful or reddened eyes. Testing by an ophthalmologist can detect glaucoma before symptoms appear and begin treatment to prevent vision loss.

People at greatest risk for developing glaucoma include those who are over 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or who have a family history of glaucoma.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration occurs when the center of the retina degrades, causing a progressive loss of vision. Symptoms include:

  • A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
  • A gradual loss of color vision
  • Distorted vision
  • A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision

There are two kinds of macular degeneration: "wet" and “dry.” The “wet” form can be treated in its early stages. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.

What is diabetic retinopathy and how is it treated?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that nourish the retina. Vision can be lost if these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches. In its advanced stages, diabetic retinopathy can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters and blind spots – and, eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible. However, treatment can slow disease progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.

Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?

Yes. People with diabetes are most susceptible to developing it, but your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, and control your blood pressure. Regular eye exams are an integral part of making sure your eyes remain healthy.

LASIK

What is laser refractive surgery?

Laser refractive surgery improves vision by correcting refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.

What is LASIK?

LASIK (Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis) is currently one of the most frequently performed elective procedures in North America. It is a highly effective outpatient procedure that is suitable for most low, moderate and higher prescriptions. LASIK uses a cool beam of light from the excimer laser to gently reshape the front surface (cornea) of your eye.

What is PRK?

PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy.  PRK differs from LASIK as no flap is created during the PRK procedure. PRK may be suitable for people with larger pupils, thin corneas or have other corneal issues, such as dry eyes.

Will laser vision correction help me to get rid of my reading glasses?

No.  Needing reading glasses is a natural process and has to do with the aging of the eye.  This is called presbyopia. This begins to affect most people in their early 40's.  We can talk more about this during your initial consultation.

Are both eyes done on the same day?

Yes, usually we do both eyes on the same day unless the physician or patient requests differently.

How soon can I go back to work?

This varies on the individual.  Some are able to go back to work the next day.  We suggest, however, taking off work the following day, especially if you are on the computer a lot or work in a dusty environment.  This will help with the overall healing process.

How long does the surgery take?

The actual procedure (PRK and LASIK) takes about 15-30 minutes.  You will be at the laser center about 1-2 hours on the day of the procedure.

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